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Join Me for a 3 Week Fast from Negative Words!

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26
A wife inspired me with her story earlier this week. I’d love to invite us ALL to do a fast similar to the one she decided to do.

THE CHALLENGE

Let’s seek to avoid the following for the next 21 days:
  • Destructive criticism
  • Insults
    • including sarcastic or “joking” ones
  • Complaining
  • Arguing

A Critical, Judgmental Spirit Destroys Others and Ourselves

Our goal is to LIVE the Christian life, not just to have head knowledge of it.
So let’s invite the Lord, Himself, into our words to show us what His will is for us regarding how we use our mouths. First, let’s avoid hurtful, destructive criticism – the kind of negative words designed to tear others down. Those kinds of words don’t benefit anyone. They hurt our relationships. They hurt people. And they grieve God’s heart.
There is such a thing as constructive criticism and there is such a thing as a wise, godly rebuke. These are good things when used rightly and with right motives. We all need to receive loving feedback about our blind spots at times.
From www.gotquestions.org about a critical spirit:
Jesus is not saying that we should not be discerning or that we should ignore the fallen nature of the world. He is also not saying that we must never, under any circumstance, criticize anyone else. In fact, the Bible tells us that we are to judge rightly (John 7:24). However, we are not to criticize with malicious intent or out of pride, hypocrisy, or self-righteousness. We cannot assume that we are impartial or that we can fairly exact our standards on others. Humans have naturally deceitful hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) that allow for blind spots and inappropriate comparisons. Only God can judge with perfect accuracy (Hebrews 4:12; James 4:11-12; 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Isaiah 11:4; Revelation 19:11). And our discernment is only valid when it is informed by a renewed nature in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-16; John 16:13). Only when we are submitted to Christ and honest with ourselves will our judgment serve to edify rather than destroy.
Critical words spring from a critical heart. And a critical heart generally comes from a misunderstanding of God’s grace—either due to pride or a simple lack of information about God’s character and the meaning of salvation. Only when we understand our depravity apart from God and the depth of His grace will we be able to bestow grace to others (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Colossians 2:13-15; Ephesians 2:1-10).
  • You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matt. 7:5
  • Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

Insults Deeply Wound Others

Our words have “the power of life and death” according to scripture (Prov. 18:21). What we say matters. There are two primary commands Jesus gives us. The first is that we are to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. The second is that we are to love other people as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40). Then Jesus connects the two. We learn that He counts the way we treat other people, even the least of them, as the way we treat Him (Matt. 25:31-46). And in 1 John, we learn that “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

So what we speak to people in our every day lives matters. A lot. Let’s invite God to help us stop using our words as weapons to cut others down and to stop speaking death to people – and even to ourselves.

  • Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Pet. 3:9
  • Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Prov. 11:12
  • A fool’s displeasure is known at once, but whoever ignores an insult is sensible. Prov. 12:16
  • There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18

Complaining and Negativity Hurt Our Witness for Christ

When we complain and highlight all that is wrong with life and focus on bad things, we reveal a lack of trust in the Lord and unbelief in our hearts. God calls us to live lives of thanksgiving in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). He calls us to focus our minds on Him and on all of the good things and blessings we can find (Phil. 4:8).

One of the things that stirred God’s anger the most against the people of Israel in the wilderness was their tendency to complain and grumble. They complained to Moses, but ultimately, their real complaint was against God. They didn’t believe He would take good care of them. They didn’t believe He was able to provide well for them. They didn’t trust His heart toward them or His plan. They didn’t come to Him with their needs and ask for help humbly and respectfully by faith. They accused God of evil motives and said He must be too weak to help or save them. That was not remotely the case!

Even now for believers in Christ, if we choose to complain and grumble about our lot in life, we hurt our walk with the Lord and we destroy our witness for Him. How can anyone be drawn to Jesus if we are so dissatisfied with Him and we don’t trust Him, ourselves? God is not saying we can’t ask Him for help. We absolutely can! And we can ask others for help, too, when we need to, and it is appropriate. But for believers in Christ, there is no room in our lives for complaining. We are to live lives of faith. Faith doesn’t complain – it trust God and seeks Him, inviting Him into the situation to do something glorious.

We also need to remember that God intends to use our trials to help us grow in our faith and spiritual maturity. The thing I am complaining about may be the answer to my prayers that God has sent to help me grow. Not that we should try to find suffering or put ourselves in suffering. But as a believer, I should have a totally different outlook on annoying and difficult things. They may be spiritual tests. They may be discipline for me to grow in my faith. They may be opportunities for God to do something amazing. In Christ, I can learn to count even my trials as joy. I can keep an eternal perspective rather than get wrapped up in the moment.

  • Nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 1 Cor. 10:10
  • Do everything without grumbling and arguing,  so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation,among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life. Phil. 2:14-16
  • Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. James 5:9
  • Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Pet. 4:9

Arguing Is Ineffective, Detrimental, and  Unnecessary,  for a Believer

We can get our points across and have a voice, especially as we share things we know will honor and please the Lord. We can share the truth in love, using God’s wisdom and discernment. We can speak up against things that are wrong in God’s eyes. And we can do all of this without being argumentative, fighting, or involving sinful anger – IF we act in the power of the Spirit of God.

  • A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
  • Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 2 Tim. 2:23-24
  • But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17
  • Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:1-2

The Ultimate Goal

We can’t do any of this in our own power. But if we belong to Jesus, we can invite Him to give us the power we need to control our words – and even to control our thoughts. That is the end goal. Total heart, mind, and life change by the power of Christ.
  • We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor. 10:5
  • Walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. Gal. 5:16
 

Pray with Me

Lord,
We love You and want to love You so much more. More than anything or anyone else. More than even ourselves. Jesus, if You are our Lord, it means we are to submit every part of our lives to Your authority and control. Our words are often our area of greatest weakness, Lord. Our words reveal the hidden motives of our hearts. They demonstrate whether our sinful nature is in control or Your Spirit is in control. We want You to be in firm control of our mouths, words, and even our thoughts! We repent of our sinful words. Our words of condemnation, judgment, destructive criticism, grumbling, arguing, complaining, negativity, and insults. These things wound Your heart. They grieve You. They break our fellowship with You. We repent of these sinful words – and the sinful thoughts that birthed them. We want to take up our cross today and follow You. We crucify our sinful nature and all of its thoughts and words on the cross with Jesus. We receive Your new life and new nature for us. Thank You that You will empower us to walk in Your ways and to offer our mouths and words to You to use as instruments of righteousness rather than offering them to the enemy and sin to use to destroy others, hurt you, and destroy ourselves.
Let us act in Your wisdom with our words and let us use our words to speak Your Life – not death!
Amen!

Share Your Experience!

 
Let us know how things are going and if you notice anything different in your own walk with the Lord and your relationships.  Also, check in with us if you need some encouragement!
 
 
Much love!

A Wife Begins a 21 Day Fast from Negative Words

I am so thankful to this precious sister in Christ who has allowed me to share some of what God has been doing in her life and heart. It’s a blessing to get to hear from wives in every stage of this journey. Perhaps you may want to join her with this amazing idea? In fact, this would be a WONDERFUL Valentine’s gift to your husband!
Remember – the goal is not to change to get your husband to change, but to allow God to transform you! Check out this wife’s journal and observations for the first 10 days or so of her journey:
———
I have been reading your blog posts and realizing some things. I actually have even started a corporate fast (for 21 days) with my church but instead of food…
I have decided to fast from the following:
It has been 3 days of doing none of this to my husband and it has been HARD but I told myself if I mess up the fast I do not get my morning coffee (which is my favorite and the first thing I thought to fast). None-the-less I actually already notice a change in him a bit. His demeanor has actually been quite different like even after just a few days of this. I do have to say I am shocked. I always realize probably 80% of the things I say to my husband involve the above. But I think I am on the right track?
DAY 4
Sometimes I feel so empowered and close to God and then other times I feel like so low and dumb like why do I have to change and he doesn’t but I understand fully that is not the right mindset. It’s just hard.
My husband is cuddling me a lot more lately though.
DAY 5
He is still sleeping now at noon (after staying out very late with friends – again). I am with my coffee and Bible and praying for God to get me through today. I know I can’t continue mothering him. I know he has to make his own choices. It just hurts. To him, it is no big deal at all. He works 50+ hours a week and provides well.
I can tell you this much. I am not even going to bring up the fact he came home late. I’ve done it a million times in the past and where did it get me? Nowhere!
Time to try something new.
This will be so hard and I will want to be sarcastic! In the past I’ve even taken stabs at his manhood bc he has chose staying out late with guys over his wife, what kinda man does that? I’d say… “a gay guy?” I’m sure that didn’t help. I really can be so mean to him but it’s because things hurt me.
Even though I am upset, I am determined to stick with this fast.
I want change in my heart and my husband’s, so I know something has to change. Maybe when he realizes I no longer bring it up and nag and complain he may actually be able to hear God say it’s wrong? Or hear his own thoughts on things? Like you were saying.
DAY 6
I began reading “The Surrendered Wife,” by Laura Doyle and gave the finances over to my husband as she instructed. (From Peaceful Wife – this book helped me in so many ways in my own journey, but there are some things that are not biblical that have to be filtered out.)
He didn’t take it well. I mean he didn’t say much but just, “Ok,” and ended up leaving without telling me bye. When I called him he just said he was a little confused and that he would talk to me about it later when he got home.
  1. I control everything.
  2. I monitor what he does and spends.
  3. It creates that mother/son type relationship I hate.
  4. I thought he’d be happy to give all that up but I’m thinking he probably just is looking at it like he now has more work.
Laura instructs to just simply say, “I know you’ll fine time, you’ll do much better than me,” and leave it at that but now I feel like I should explain to him since he seemed upset.
LATER THAT DAY
After he came home I continued to be my “new” self and he didn’t ask about it. He took me on a date and never brought it up. I just kept practicing receiving and being sweet. On the way home he did tell me a whole long story about why he spent so much money yesterday helping a friend. 😂 He probably thinks I was mad about that and decided to give him all the financial burden as a punishment. I do things like that. But I just said, “Oh, that was nice of you!”
Idk, I actually feel very far from my husband right now. It’s almost like he has a wall up. He may feel very confused or that I am very different but I thought it would draw him towards me but he seems very distant.
Some things I am praying for as I fast:
  • Radical change for me. Extreme peace in my heart, that come only from the Lord, relinquishing control and idolatry of my husband. Being peaceful and fun and not uptight, worried, mad, and stressed all the time.
  • Radical change in my husband. His walk with the Lord and how he hears him, radical change in how he sees and handles finances.
  • Passion and intimacy to be restored in our marriage.
I actually, right now, feel far from my husband but close with the Lord.
It’s interesting. I feel a peace from God since I haven’t been controlling. I thought it would be a lot harder, and maybe it will be at times,  but I am a goal setter and I set out to not complain, criticize, judge, or be sarcastic for 21 days and I’m sticking to it. Throw in releasing control and being feminine and I think my husband is very confused.
I wish I could just tell him what’s going on and ease his mind to try to draw him close to me. Because right now is almost seems I know something he doesn’t and we feel distant but I know that’s probably not the best.
I’ve been reading your posts and the 8  Powerful Keys to Peace have been amazing to learn. Will be reading more today as I spend my quiet time with God!
I know this will be a hard road. And won’t always be easy. I got to this point where I realized I was upset I even married my husband and was trying to almost justify a divorce. And I realized that was so wrong and unnecessary and I was willing to change if that’s what God wanted. I am ashamed I thought that way. Especially after being able to, for the first time in a long time, see glimpses of what a good man my husband is and can be. (And I do mean only mere glimpses) but still they are there. And I’m taking this as God opening my eyes. And changing what I see.
DAY 7
I am really desiring intimacy, and even though I’m changing and being much better, it’s just still not there. But I am trying to remember, like you said, it’s been years of disrespect so he may not come around (quickly).
Also, this is strange, but as I’ve been spending more time with God on this subject of me as a wife it’s almost as if all these past incidents are being brought my mind, times when, at the time I saw myself as completely justified and mistreated and now I’m seeing myself as an ugly beast. Ways I’ve treated my husband in the past, and hateful things I’ve said.
Gosh, this is so embarrassing and I feel deeply like I want to cry and repent to him but I’m afraid to do because I’m not even sure myself if I’ve changed 100% and I don’t want to risk saying sorry and then doing something so disrespectful and harming again.
I feel as if I’ve truly harmed my marriage. And destroyed intimacy.
I haven’t apologized yet! I am just sticking to my fast and trying to hear from the Lord.
My husband has been in our bedroom all night with the door closed playing video games. I do know he had a hard day at work. He works outside and was very cold today. I had a homemade dinner waiting for him.
Before he went up to play he:
  1. Hugged me and kissed me and squeezed me.
  2. Fixed up the TV for me so I could watch a show I wanted to watch.
  3. And smiled at me.
I was super thankful!
That’s great and I didn’t complain about him saying he was going to go play for a little but I feel myself feeling all that aggression toward him again for choosing things over me. For not pursuing me sexually or wanting to spend time with me instead of video games.
10 STEPS BACKWARDS
To be honest, I completely messed up last night. My husband came home and cuddled me for like 2 hours, while he watched a movie. He did cuddle me, but I didn’t go for it. The whole time all I was thinking was I just want to get up and do something. I’m so annoyed this is every night he just wants to sit here and watch TV.
Finally, I brought this all up. I told him he’s never romantic. It was like word vomit and after almost 2 weeks of being respectful, I caved. He seemed mortified and told me I don’t want real life. Real life is him coming home from a long day and cuddling me when I want. Candles and flowers – that’s just not real. I get it but every now and then? He said he was sick of always feeling like he’s doing something wrong.
A BIG SURPRISE A FEW DAYS LATER
I decided to not say anything about the night before! Though he slept in, I got up and cleaned, had some Bible time and to be honest really felt some anger brewing in my heart. He hasn’t been seeking God the way I wish he would be. And then seeing him stay up late once again for something silly like video games was getting to me. I didn’t feel like even being near him.
THEN I started a gratitude journal. I wrote down all the things recently he’s done that’s made me happy, proud or impressed me:
  • He asked me to pray for his desire to read his bible.
  • He fixed our car when it was broke down.
  • He recently bought a book about prayer.
  • He’s been working so hard at work.
  • He’s been taking over the finances better than I ever thought he would!
After this, I felt a desire to go lay with him in bed. His sleepy eyes saw me and the first thing I did was SMILE. He smiled back, and I was so shocked by this but he immediately started kissing me and making love to me.
It had been about 3 weeks.
I think he is attracted to my quietness, my not having an opinion about EVERYTHING. My smile.
I wasn’t even thinking about sex at all and he made it happen! I was taken back but thankful for my time of being thankful because it completely changed my mindset!
(From Peaceful Wife – Our husbands are much more attracted to us when we act soft, gentle, feminine, and peaceful than if we throw verbal knives at them!)

SHARE

If you would like to share some of your journey and things you have learned along the way, we’d love to hear about it!

Or, if this wife’s story has encouraged you to try something similar, we’d love to hear about your plans, as well.

Note – I will be responding to the comments (Peaceful Wife), not the author. Thanks! <3

RELATED

The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord (my book that outlines how to start this journey)

Stages of This Journey

Apologizing Stories – why some wives apologize immediately, and some wait until later

Why It May Be Wise to Keep This Journey Secret at First

Why Isn’t My Husband More Supportive of Me As I Try to Change?

Respect, Biblical Submission, and Intimacy  – Yes! There is a connection!
Let’s Talk about Sex! (a link to all my posts about sex)

Handling an Unwanted Divorce with Christlikeness

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Here is a question from one of my readers, followed by a response from a Christian brother who has been down this road and who has decided to entrust Himself and his children to Christ. I appreciate his willingness to share:

The Question:

My problem is an unrequited divorce. I know how God feels about divorce and I want to fight for my marriage. We have two young children. If there is any ounce of Christianity left in my husband, then he doesn’t seem to care that God hates divorce. 

He has moved on and is dating a non-Christian woman whom he allows to be with our children. We aren’t even divorced yet! I am afraid every time they go with them. 

I pray. I go to church. I pray. I talk to the members of my church. We pray. What else can I do? My children are court-ordered to see him and be exposed to their sinful, adulterous relationship. 

He and I have a terrible relationship and I don’t know how to get it back. We don’t communicate well, so we’ve stopped talking unless it has to do with the kids. Even talking then is strenuous. 

Should I be trying to tell both him and his girlfriend about divorce and its consequences? I’m trying my best law-wise to keep the case going so we don’t divorce, giving God a chance to reach him before that. And of course, I pray. 

Please help. 

 

The Response

Dear reader of April’s blog,

April has asked me if I was willing to share some of my experiences with unrequited divorce, and how God has led me to particular conclusions related to your questions. It is something that I have had to work out through my own unrequited divorce.

I am writing this three years after my own divorce. My divorce was unwanted by me, but my spouse was determined to leave. Communication before she left was awful, with threats about affairs being made and carried out multiple times. Before and after our separation, she entered a path of multiple one-night-stands and had a quick succession of short-term, live in boyfriends. Our children have seen and heard things that no child should ever have to see. Many men have come and gone from their lives in the three years since our separation. Currently she lives with a man who is not a believer and this appears to be a more long-term relationship heading towards a marriage. We have legally divorced, sold our family home, moved to different towns and have shared care of our children.

What I write comes from a place of deep hurt and personal experience with the situation that you are in. I have spent many, many hours in tearful, prayerful consideration as to how to deal with these situations as they arose for me. I have prayerfully considered all that I have written here, and I believe that the advice I am going to share is biblical advice.

(From Peaceful Wife – I encourage every wife in a situation like this to search scripture and to pray for God’s leading and wisdom for her. Ultimately, what you choose to do is between the Lord, your husband, and yourself. Reach out to trusted, mature believers/counselors for prayer and godly wisdom. And, of course, if your or your children are truly in danger, please contact the proper authorities.)

Fighting a divorce when a spouse is determined to leave

One of the things we may be most tempted to do when our spouse tells us they want a divorce, is to fight against it. This is a natural inclination! We don’t want a divorce, we don’t want our world shattered and we know that God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 tells us this.

“For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”

It is right and good to hate divorce, it is the sundering of a covenant that is supposed to be lifelong and holy, and all parties involved in a divorce suffer because of it.

When my ex-wife told me she wanted a divorce, I felt total, debilitating fear. Everything that I believed to be true was a lie. All my security was taken away. So initially I fought for the marriage tooth and nail, with fear as my primary motive.

But, in fact, me fighting it just strengthened her resolve to go through with it.

The biblical principle that became clear to me through these situations was this. We do not have the ability to control our spouse’s decisions, and we should not try. Trying to fight a divorce when your spouse is adamant that they want to divorce is a form of control, and if they are not wanting God’s design for lifelong marriage in their life, then they will only fight that control even more. They are already rebelling against His will in their life, why would increasing the ‘height’ of what they perceive as walls to limit their freedom do any good? It won’t!

I believe this is the principle that is laid out for us in 1st Corinthians 7:12-16

“To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”

An Example from My Own Life

This experience is burned in my mind, it is one of the times that I knew God’s presence so, so strongly. I was working alone and all of a sudden the scripture, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” came into my heart. I felt strongly that God was reassuring me of His presence and lifelong care, warning me of something to come and to let it happen and trust Him.

Minutes later my ex-wife rang me. She threatened to have another affair and told me she was going to force me out of our home. I responded with these words, “I am not leaving you or the children, I love you and I am committed to you and our marriage. But you are free to leave if you want to, you have the freedom to choose.”

Even though my response was clearly giving her the freedom to leave and was not a response of control in any way, she still responded by telling me that I was being horrible, and she stepped up her efforts to force me to leave, including trying to manipulate me into an affair. Many years later, she told me that she did not want to be seen as the “bad one,” so she was trying to get me to cheat and leave, but in her heart she knew she was leaving no matter what. When a person is committed to the path that they are on, they are not willing to listen to advice contrary to it. If I had of said that I would try to stop her leaving, it would have escalated the issues even more.

Dear reader, I am not suggesting that this is easy to do! Every fibre in your body is (rightly) hurting and hating what you are going through. Your natural inclination is to fight, fight, fight to save the marriage you dreamed of having. I hurt with you and for you, but I am certain that the biblical principle is to let your husband make his own choices. What does this mean practically, when it comes to the legal side of the divorce?

I am not sure what the laws are in your country, but in my country a couple can apply for a ‘no fault divorce’. This can be applied for by the couple together, or by one member of the marriage. If it is applied for by one spouse only, the other spouse has the option to contest the application or accept it.

My ex-wife asked if we could apply for a joint divorce, and after much consideration and discussion with my counsellor, church leaders, and much prayer, I decided on the following approach. I told her that I would not apply for a joint divorce with her, because I had made my marriage vows and I intended to stand by them. I told her that if she chose to apply for a single applicant divorce that I would not fight her application for a divorce because she had the right of free choice, but nor would I support it. I believe this to be consistent with the biblical principles of honouring my marriage vows, of showing Christian love and giving freedom of choice. (Incidentally, the outcome was that she did apply for a single applicant divorce, I did not fight it and she was granted it). I do not believe that God would have you fight to avoid a divorce. I believe that God would have you graciously allow your husband the freedom of his choice, and leave the outcome in God’s hands.

Trying to tell the wayward spouse what to do and/or preach at or lecture him/her

One of the things that it is tempting to do, is to lecture our spouse as to why they are making the wrong decisions. Even if we have decided that we need to give them the freedom of choice, we are still naturally inclined to point out to them why their choices are wrong. I did this:

I pointed out to her that she had made wedding vows of fidelity for life.

  • Her response was “I didn’t mean them, I just decided that I was hot and you were hot and we had to be married to have sex”.

I pointed out to her that the Bible taught that God hated divorce.

  • Her response was “So what, I don’t think I believe in God anyway”.

I pointed out to her that the divorce would hurt our children so much.

  • Her response was “It’s too late for me to reconsider anything”.

I booked a counsellor to talk things through.

  • After a couple of sessions her response was “He’s an old man who doesn’t know anything”.

I told her that I was willing to forgive her affairs, sell our family home, move interstate so she did not have to deal with the shame of some of her more public actions, and start afresh.

  • Her response was “No, I just don’t want you. I want to hurt you”.

See the pattern here?

I don’t know your spouse, and I don’t know the dynamics of your relationship and communication. But what I do know is that if he is willing to leave the marriage and live with his girlfriend, then no amount of lecturing from you will change anything. You can tell him and his girlfriend that the divorce is wrong and the consequences of it until you are blue in the face, but it won’t change anything.

Only the Wise Listen to a Godly Rebuke

A warning is only of any value to someone who is on the same team and is listening out for it, willing to hear the voice of reason. Proverbs 9:7-8 says

“Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
rebuke the wise and they will love you.”

Trying to tell a wayward spouse what to do is about as useful as cooling down a hot meal with a blowtorch. In the same way that a spouse who does not believe in the sanctity of marriage will only rebel against fights to save it, a spouse who is not willing to listen to reason will not listen to you lecturing them or telling them that any of their decisions are wrong.

Consider King David for a moment. He was fixated on Bathsheba, he lusted after her and was willing to kill to have her as his wife. If the prophet Nathaniel had lectured him about what he was doing, what do you think his response would have been? I suggest that if he was willing to commit murder and adultery to have Bathsheba, which he already knew was wrong, then someone telling him that he was doing the wrong thing whilst he wanted to do it would have had zero effect.

And yet, at the right time and with the right word from God he was convicted of his sin, and broke down in repentance.

It is not love to ignore the sin of our spouse, but our relationship with our spouse is different to our relationship with our children. With our children, we have a responsibility and a right to instruct them, to teach them, and to correct them. If this is done with love as the motivation it is a good and right thing. However, we do not have the same sort of parental authoritative relationship with a spouse, and certainly not with an ex-spouse. I think we need great discernment to know when and how it is a loving time and place to share with an ex-spouse what impacts their decisions have made. I believe, and have experienced, that God can and does open doors at the right time to share these things.

Dealing with your children being with the ex-spouse’s current boyfriend/girlfriend

This is one of the hardest things to deal with. Not only are you dealing with the betrayal of one who promised to love you for life leaving, not only are you dealing with the hurt of another partner (or partners), you are also dealing with the confusion and hurt of your children. The innocents.

The truth is, divorce hurts children very, very deeply.

Even though it has been three years since my divorce, my kids still hurt from it. I believe they always will. The tears they have shed, the questions they have asked, the memories of their little bodies clinging to mine as they tried to work out why mummy left, still hurt me too. I am a father who wishes to protect his children from hurt, and yet, here I am having to protect them in some ways from the one who is supposed to nurture and love them?! How do I do that? I too have been afraid for my children, (particularly for my daughter), who are growing up living with men who are not their father or brothers. How do I teach my children good values, when they are growing up surrounded by bad values? How do I set appropriate boundaries with them, when they have different or no boundaries with their mother?

These are Very. Hard. Questions.

I found inspiration in Mother Teresa. Someone shared with me an experience she wrote of, where someone asked her how she coped with all of the suffering of the children in India. They asked her “Don’t you wish you could save all of the children of India?” Her response was “Of course I do”. They then asked her “How do you keep going when you know you can’t save them all?” Her response was “I can save this one.”

What this experience showed me, is that I can only do what I have the actual capacity to do. I cannot make a difference with what goes on with my children’s mother. I cannot change the fact that she is likely to have many boyfriends, and the children will see this. I cannot change the fact that she smokes around them, swears around them, is happy to live in an unbiblical sexual relationship around them – because none of these things are considered by the laws of our country to be reason to remove a child from their mother (unless there is actual abuse going on, in which case I have every legal right to intervene). But what I CAN do, is provide an environment and sanctuary where they can experience and see a difference.

I can make a difference to them when they are with me.

I can live a life that is pleasing to God, with appropriate boundaries on my own relationships (incidentally I have not had any relationships since our separation). I can eat good food, teach responsible alcohol consumption, provide a smoke free environment. I can make a difference to them, with me.

I also believe it is absolutely appropriate and right to continue to teach your children about right or wrong values, even if their other parent is not living those values. It is not love to allow someone you have a responsibility to teach to believe that something bad is good. The primary consideration once your spouse has divorced you, in my view, is what is your responsibility towards your children.

Creating productive communication with the ex-spouse

As I was writing this for April, I had a conversation with my ex-spouse. It began with her letting me know that she had booked my son in for some dental work this week. It continued into a brief discussion where she said she had been proud of him for the way he played with a disabled child last week, and she said he had a kind heart. I responded by saying that he does have a kind heart, and I think he got it from her (because underneath all of the horrible things that have been done, she does have a kind heart). She melted, and apologised again and again for all the things she has done that has hurt me.

We talked some more about the kids, their future, and our future. We talked about ways that we try to build up each other in our children’s minds. I pointed out in the conversation that I could not support some of the things she is doing, such as her smoking, but that I have shared these things with the kids in a way that shows them that we all love her. She acknowledged again that she takes responsibility for all of the wrongs she did to me. This is not the first time she has apologised for what she has done. I have had many opportunities to talk about things that have hurt me, and she accepts hearing it now. She reiterates again and again her desire for me to have a happy life. She is changing.

What has brought about this change? How can we communicate about the children like that now, when we weren’t able to 3 years ago?

One of the fundamental principles that I believe should guide our responses in all communication with all people, is love. Whilst it is true that love speaks the truth, when we speak with love we also have discernment as to when we speak, who we speak to, and how we say it.

If the motivation for us saying something to our ex-spouse is fear, then that is a good sign that we are probably not speaking in love.

We will likely say something that is truth (such as the divorce is hurting the children), but it will likely be said in a way that achieves nothing. If we want to say something and it is marked with peace, love and joy, this is likely a fruit of the Holy Spirit in your heart. And it will bear fruit, which will be seen in your ex-spouse’s response. As I have slowly learned this principle, and have practised thanking her for the things that she DOES do for the children, things have slowly changed.

Reader, I am not going to pretend for a second that this was easy to begin with. When your spouse/ex-spouse is doing things that rip your heart to pieces, it feels almost impossible to see anything positive in them at all. But what I found, was that as I spent time in prayer and worship of the Lord, he enabled me to see her as a lost soul, and I began to hurt for her and for the decisions she was making. I began to see that we were both the same, both people who desperately needed God’s forgiveness and grace for our lives. I began to love her with a love that I hadn’t ever felt before. I understood how Christ could be on the cross hurting for the people who were killing Him.

And that is the key. Knowing Christ. The more I have surrendered my situation to the Lord and allowed Him to work, the more fruit I have seen in my life and hers. He has directly shared to my heart times when I just KNEW it was the right time to say something, and the responses to these conversations have been fantastic.

I ask you this, what can you actually do of your own strength that will change the mind of your spouse? The answer is nothing.

Any change that comes will come as a work of God in their heart, as they, themselves, are willing to listen to Him. Creating productive communication with your spouse is a matter of experiencing Christ yourself, practicing His principles of love and respect, and trusting Him with the outcome, even if you don’t see any changes for a long, long time.

I received a letter from my daughter two weeks ago. She is 6. It had her beautiful handwriting on the front of the envelope, where she had carefully written out my home address. It was a handmade card, with a picture on the front that she had drawn. Inside it had these four words “I love you Dad.” Do you know why I got that letter? Because it was the weekend that I did not have custody of my children, and their mother had organised this letter to be posted to me. She has photographs of me with each of the children next to their beds, so they can see me before they go to sleep at night. She will randomly text me, thanking me for things like teaching her how to drive a car. Things have changed. There won’t be a reconciliation of our marriage, but there has been such a softening of her heart over time, a reconciliation of friendship of sorts. We work together for the children now.

There is a scripture in 1stCorinthians 13 that says this, “Love never fails. Love may not restore your marriage, there are some things that have lifelong consequences and divorce is something that sometimes can’t be avoided. But I can promise you that love will produce fruit over time. It will first produce fruit in you, as you begin to understand the depth of the love of God in you. And it may well begin to soften the way for better communication with your husband also.

I am praying for you.

NOTE FROM PEACEFUL WIFE

Ultimately, each spouse in a situation like this will need to seek God wholeheartedly and seek to follow the Word of God and the Spirit’s leading. There aren’t super easy formulas and pat answers. This husband truly has sought the Lord with all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength. As he was willing to lay down his will and his life in absolute surrender to the Lord, God has given him wisdom each step of the way. He trusted God to work in his wife’s heart. Because it is only God who can open people’s blinded eyes and raise them to new life.

I believe that as we learn to depend on Christ and we determine to seek to follow and honor Him above all else, He can show us His path for each of us.

The greatest goals are eternal goals. Things like – our spouse’s and children’s salvation. We can continue to pray for these things and allow God to use us however He sees fit to pray and to set beautiful, Christlike examples for everyone around us to see.

If you are facing severe issues in your marriage, please reach out for godly, experienced, wise one-on-one counsel if you need to – with a counselor you trust. And please seek to be as close to the Lord yourself as possible.

SHARE

If you have been in a situation similar to this and you believe that God has given you wisdom you would like to share (that aligns with scripture), you are welcome to share some general insights and spiritual treasures you have received.

If you would like prayer for your situation, you are welcome to ask for prayer.

However, I’d like to stipulate that we (the author of this guest post, readers, and myself) not attempt to give specific advice to people in the comments about their particular situations. A public forum like this is not a great place to share all of the details of a spouse’s sin. That is better done in private with a trusted, experienced counselor who can get to know your specific situation in person. And sometimes, if a person gets a lot of conflicting advice, it can be more confusing than helpful.

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Contentment on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming up, ladies! With all the pressure and expectations that come along with it.
Sometimes, we may be tempted to judge our husband’s love for us or the strength of our marriage based on if we get just the right gift. Special, costly gifts and things our husbands give us can be fun. But let’s remember that our relationship, marriage, motives, and how we treat our husbands are far more important than exactly how we celebrate on one day.

Appreciating Our Own Husbands

Our husbands show love in many ways that advertisers never portray. Everyday kinds of ways. And sometimes, heroic kinds of ways. These gestures of love are important! Probably more important, in the light of eternity, than whether they pick just the right card that we would like or whether they give us a new diamond necklace.
I’m so glad our worth as women doesn’t have to all hang on this one day!
Our worth comes from Jesus and His incredible love and sacrifice for us. Anything else is icing on the cake! Each husband has his own strengths, talents, and ways of showing love.
Thankfully, we can learn to receive love in the ways they give love.
It is amazing how much more loved we feel when we learn to see and appreciate what our men do to try to show us love. Even if it is not our favorite way of receiving love. We might discover, their ways are pretty amazing, too. They do things for us all throughout the year. Think about the kind things your particular husband does for you – and write them down.
Consciously choose to be thankful for the man you have.
In Christ, we don’t have to measure our husband’s love by whether they meet all of the standards of advertisers on TV and billboards for this day. We can be free from worldly expectations and dictates. We can choose to love, appreciate, respect, and honor our men for the ways they show love to us every day of the year. We don’t have to compare them to anyone else – real or fictional.
We get to decide whether we will set the emotional thermostat in our marriages to warm and inviting or cold and resentful. We can also learn to give love to our men in the ways that are meaningful to them.

The Most Important Thing Is Our Attitude

We can approach this day with a grateful heart and contentment.

Instead of focusing on ourselves or on our culture’s very rigid expectations for this day, I’d love to see us take some pressure off of our husbands – and ourselves. Sure, we can sweetly ask for things we would enjoy. (With a pleasant tone of voice and a smile):
  • Babe, I would really love to do X.
  • Honey, I would like a box of X chocolates for Valentine’s Day.
Let’s also ask our husbands what would be special to them. If we choose to celebrate this day, let’s make it about appreciating our unique marriage in our own unique way as a couple. Why let some strangers we don’t even know – who will financially benefit if we do what they want us to do – put demands on us or our men? And why allow some marketing executives to get us to resent our guys if they find their marketing plan unpalatable? 
 
The Most Important Ability Is Flexibility
This is my Sunday School teacher’s favorite saying. And it is so true! So if someone gets sick with the flu or finances are tight and doing something elaborate is not possible, we can be flexible. This is life sometimes. We can roll with it. God can give us the power! We don’t have to freak out or get upset. We can enjoy:
  • A homemade meal or take out at home together on the couch.
  • Making our husband’s favorite dish or dessert. Just to bless him.
  • Snuggling on the couch together.
  • Thanking our men for all they do for us and our families.
  • Sharing a few reasons we admire them.
  • Doing something fun with the kids.
  • Making homemade decorations for the supper table with the kids.
  • Taking cookies to a single mom, a pregnancy crisis center, or an elderly widow/widower.
  • A walk through the neighborhood.
  • A relaxing bath together after the kids go to bed.
  • Some time together another day if schedules don’t work out on the 14th.

Contentment IS Possible!

Paul is such an incredible example of contentment for us to follow. He was able to be content in Christ in the midst of violent persecution for his faith, imprisonment, suffering, illness, injuries, and all kinds of trials (Phil. 4:11-12). Surely, because we have the same power of Jesus in us, we can be content no matter what may happen on Valentine’s Day.
Look at the standard of contentment God has for us:
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Tim. 6:6-8
God calls us to be content with godliness, food for the day, and clothing for the day. Wow. That is very different from the messages we receive in our culture. But it is extremely freeing!
We can respond graciously and with respect and self-control even if things don’t go the way we would really like on Valentine’s Day. We can bring joy and delight to our husbands by being understanding, patient, peaceful, joyful, considerate, and thankful for them.
With an attitude like this, we are bound to savor Valentine’s Day, and every day.
Much love!
 
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What secrets have you found to approaching Valentine’s Day in a way that is a blessing to your husband, your family, and yourself? We’d love to hear about it!
 
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“My Husband Doesn’t Spend Enough Time with Me”

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

Almost every wife experiences this at some point or another. Your man is busy with other things and you really want to connect with him. Sometimes he may not have a choice about how busy he is due to work, a crisis, an illness, or another emergency. Other times, he may spend a lot of time hunting, fishing, spending time with friends, renovating the house, watching TV, playing guitar, running, playing sports, or playing video games.

It’s easy as a wife to feel upset in such a scenario. Really upset. Ignored. Unimportant. And unloved.

For many wives, we value verbally and emotionally connecting with them and spending significant time together each day. That desire to be with our husbands is a good thing.

We feel secure and loved when we feel like we have priority in their schedules.

The desire, itself, is not the problem. How we deal with this desire is what is important.

The Temptation

It’s easy to listen to the smooth voice of the enemy when we feel like our husbands aren’t spending enough time with us and to begin to make negative assumptions and accusations like:

  • He doesn’t love me! If he loved me, he would make time for me.
  • He’s a jerk!
  • He should want to spend time with me as much as I want to spend time with him or he is wrong.
  • Our marriage is doomed.
  • I should probably just leave if I am such a low priority to him.

When we feel unloved, we will be tempted to react in the flesh.

“We are most tempted to sin when we are sinned against,” (Gary Thomas says, in “Sacred Marriage”). And I would add to that, even if we simply feel sinned against or assume we are being sinned against, we are more tempted to sin, even if we are not actually being sinned against. Sometimes, it can be difficult, at first, to discern this important difference.

There are a lot of things that could be going on when we feel unloved:

  • Our husbands may simply have a different love language. They really are showing love in their own ways, and we aren’t feeling or receiving it.
  • Our husbands may have different personalities and different needs/desires for alone time/recharging/hobbies than we do. For example, introverts tend to need a lot more time to themselves to recharge than extroverts. It doesn’t mean that the introvert hates his/her spouse when he/she needs some time alone. Introverts can love their spouses deeply but still need some time to pull away alone. Honestly, we all need some time alone to spend with God and to get our bearings.
  • Our flesh may be weak at the moment, which makes everything seem much worse – Our hormones are going crazy, we are sick, we are exhausted, or overwhelmed. Sometimes our emotions can mislead us and are not always trustworthy.
  • We may simply have a misunderstanding because we assume our husbands should think/feel/react just like we do and/or act like women. They may actually love us and there may not even be a real problem. It may just be that we have different perspectives, paradigms, ways of connecting, and expectations.
  • We could be sinning in some way. We may be idolizing our own happiness. It is possible that we could be sinning in some way with our motives, with our thoughts, we could be believing lies about God, our husbands, or ourselvesWe may be idolizing our husbands. We may be codependent, expecting our husbands to be responsible for our spiritual and emotional wellbeing that are really our responsibility.
  • Our husbands may feel disrespected by us and have an unloving knee-jerk reaction to what we did to them. Or we might both feel hurt by each other in some way.
  • Our husbands may be unable to spend more time with us because of obligations they have. If they have no choice about having to be at work a lot, being deployed, being sick, being injured, or having to do a lot of work on the house that must be done, they may be trying to take good care of us and the family.
  • Our husbands may be stressed and may need a bit of time to recoup.
  • Our husbands may be depressed or overwhelmed about something.
  • Our husbands may truly have wrong priorities. They may be abdicating their responsibilities as husbands. Maybe they really have a TV or video game addiction. Or maybe they really are being selfish.

Let’s be sober and aware of the enemy’s schemes here, sisters!

Acting in the Flesh Leads to Long-Term Damage

If we allow our sinful natures to take over, we will approach our men in destructive ways that sabotage the very intimacy we crave with our husbands. And – when we make negative assumptions and embrace unfounded accusations – we are very possibly believing lies, not truth. We are opening the door to the enemy to gain a foothold and create division and strife where there may not even truly be a problem. That is tragic!

Every wise woman builds her house,
but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands.

Prov. 14:1

Yes, it may be tempting to act in the flesh in anger, to lose my temper, to cry, to scream, and to give full vent to an ocean of negative emotions. It is tempting to let my thoughts and fears run wild and to get rid of any filter on my mouth. But even if the worst case scenario was true about my husband, me acting without any self-control is only going to make things worse, not better.

I may think, “If he could just know how much it hurts me that he isn’t spending time with me, he would change his mind and spend hours with me being loving, romantic, and sweet to me, pampering me and showering me with attention, affection, and conversation. The louder I am, the more upset I am, the more I cry, the more I scream, the more I insult him, the quicker he will rush to apologize and make everything up to me.”

“He needs to know how upset I am!”

But does he really need to know this?

Does he really need to see me have an unholy tantrum? Does he really need to see me at my absolute worst? I may think, “Well, I need the freedom to be myself with my husband.” But what I am really saying if I say this is, “I want the freedom to be my old sinful self. I want the freedom to destroy my husband and marriage.”

Let’s stop a minute and seek God’s wisdom.

God calls me (and all believers) to crucify my old sinful self and to put on my new self in Christ. He calls me to act in the power of the Holy Spirit and to pour His Life and healing into my relationships. He gives me freedom from sin and freedom to walk in His holiness, divine love, and godly strength. He gives me the freedom to bless and build up my husband and marriage.

What do I want long term?

  1. To tear my husband down and to repel him?
  2. To inspire him to want to spend more time with me and build him up?

These are two very different goals which would require two completely opposite approaches.

There is a high price to pay for indulging in my sinful flesh.

If freak out, react in fear, try to control him, scream, argue, act like a prosecuting attorney, rant and rage for a long time, insult him, hate him in my heart, stomp around the house, slam doors, make demands, and/or pitch a fit, what messages am I sending to my husband?

Here are some things he might think:

  • She is not emotionally stable.
  • Wow, she has no control over her emotions and temper.
  • She’s scary.
  • How am I going to feel safe around her or trust her now?
  • The last thing I want to do is reward her right now by doing what she wants after she just treated me so badly.
  • I feel attacked.
  • Why would I want to spend more time with someone who treats me like this?
  • I feel completely overwhelmed by her negative emotions, like I am drowning and need to get to land ASAP.
  • This doesn’t feel like love.
  • The corner of the roof is looking more and more appealing.
    • Better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife. Prov. 21:9
    • A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand. Prov. 27:15-16

It’s not worth it.

A few minutes of allowing the flesh to spew unchecked can cost weeks or months in my relationship. Rebuilding trust after something like this takes a long time. A husband will back away for his own emotional/spiritual safety if I act like this.

A Better Way

When we find ourselves seething with resentment, unfounded accusations, bitterness, and negative assumptions, that is not a good time to talk to our husbands.

Yes, our emotions are screaming that we should RIGHT NOW! But God’s Spirit will prompt us gently to go pray and spend some time with God before we make a mistake we will regret.

Connect to the Right Power Source

Emotions are important, but they are simply indicators on our dashboard. They let us know something may be wrong. But they are not THE source of absolute truth. We need to pay attention to our emotions and examine what is behind them. But we don’t want to be slaves to our emotions. They are not always accurate.

God’s Word and His Spirit are always dependable.

It can be so helpful to journal our feelings and lay out our issues before the Lord. He can help us identify temptations and wrong thinking. He can give us wisdom we need to approach our husbands in productive ways. He wants us to tap into His Spirit for our power source and not try to be godly wives in our own strength.

Depending on the Holy Spirit

If we are believers in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit. He is the only One who can completely meet the deepest spiritual and emotional needs of our hearts.

He can even give us the ability to respond with patience, gentleness, kindness, and self-control even when our husbands truly are wrong. And God can give us His wisdom and perspective to realize what is true when we feel unloved, but our husbands really do love us. He can talk us down off of the cliff so we don’t drop a nuclear bomb in our marriage and destroy it when all we had to do was respectfully share our desires.

No matter what our husbands do or don’t do, we can respond in the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God, if we are yielded to Him.

Our husbands are much more likely to respond favorably to us if we respond in the power of the Holy Spirit – with self-control, gentleness, kindness, and respect.

I also like to change up Philippians 4:12-13 a bit for this situation: 

The original:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:12-13

My version:

I know what it is to not feel I have enough of my husband’s attention, and I know what it is to have a lot of his attention. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether I feel loved in the moment or not, whether I am getting what I want from my husband or not. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

Some things that draw my husband to me:

  • My peace and joy in Christ.
  • My genuine smile and pleasant, friendly tone of voice.
  • My consistent ability to be a safe place for him emotionally.
  • My asking for what I desire respectfully.
    • Lots of times, that is all we need to do. It really is that simple.
    • “Hey, Honey, I’d love to spend some time together sometime today.”
    • I will often see much better results if I focus on asking for what I would like in a positive way, rather than getting upset about what I don’t like.
  • My understanding and patience when he truly is in a situation where he can’t be with me as much as I would like.
  • My willingness to encourage him to do some things he enjoys sometimes, even if it is without me, as long as it is not sin. We all need some time to ourselves, time to work on hobbies, time to develop our talents, or time to connect with other friends. Different people have different needs for recharging by themselves.
  • Sharing my feelings in a humble, direct, vulnerable way calmly and without blaming him.
  • My spiritual maturity to respond with poise, self-control, dignity, self-respect, and respect for him, even if I don’t get what I want every time.

Or, we may be able to join our husbands in what they are doing and bond that way:

  • Sit with him quietly while he is working on a project around the house, smile sometimes, get him some drinks/snacks.
  • Cuddle with him in a friendly way and read a book while he watches TV or plays video games.
  • If he is open to it – go hunting with him, watch a TV show with him, ask him to teach you to play his favorite video game so you can play, too.

 

NOTE – Please keep in mind that if you have been reacting in the flesh rather than in the Spirit for a long time (months or years), your husband is going to probably need quite a bit of time to feel safe with you emotionally again. He will need to see over many months that this new approach is permanent and it is not just another manipulation attempt. Try to be patient with him even if you feel he is not very supportive as you change. Most husbands will feel a bit gun-shy and skeptical for a time until they really become convinced that these beautiful new changes are real.

Here is my YouTube video on this topic.

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How have you learned to handle times when you want more of your husband’s time and attention in productive ways? We’d love to hear the wisdom God has given you.

Is God speaking to you about this subject? We’d love to hear your thoughts and insights.

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Pray with Me for America

Lord,
The darkness grows thicker by the day in our nation. So many literally believe that evil is good and good is evil today. We have almost everything as backwards as it could possibly be. And yet, we foolishly think we are so very wise.
 
Has any generation in the history of the world been more confused, more deceived, or more delusional than ours – on just about every foundational moral issue? We are witnessing Romans 1:18-32 coming to fruition in our day. It is the Great Apostasy (2 Thess. 2:3). Time is very short before the rapture.
 
You have generously given us so much time to repent of our sins. Yet, we, as a nation, continue to proudly throw ourselves deeper into bloodshed, apostasy, immorality, violence, abuse, lies, stealing, mockery of You and Your Word, and every manner of evil.
 
We are destroying ourselves. We are bringing judgment on ourselves. We are rejecting all that is good and embracing all that will kill us. How vehemently we defend and protect our evil. How we spit in Your face and reject Your truth, racing to run off of the edge of the cliff into utter destruction.
 
You are good, kind, merciful, and loving. You have blessed America richly in the past. More than any other nation! For this, we are so thankful. But, in Your holiness and righteousness, You also must judge nations and individuals for their sin. 
 
You cannot ignore 50 million plus babies being murdered by their own mothers and by doctors. The weight of our sin against unborn babies was already unfathomable. And now there is a new law in NY that will bring about even more innocent babies’ needless deaths. We are purposely killing babies who are completely viable outside of the womb!?! And our leaders celebrate and cheer!?!
Lord, we weep over these murders and senseless deaths. There is nothing more appalling than killing our own children for the sake of our convenience.
 
You cannot ignore all of the sexual immorality, idolatry (of self, happiness, greed, lies, convenience, and so many other vain things), hatred, addictions, and countless acts of rebellion against You. Our sins are so great, I don’t even have space to list them all here.
 
The problems of America are spiritual. We are being completely consumed by the cancer of sin. Only repentance can heal us.
 
America’s sins are becoming a “ripe basket of fruit” just like Israel in the days of Amos. How much longer before we reach the point of no return? If You did not spare Your beloved people, Israel, when they sinned terribly, You will not spare America, either.
Surely Your judgment is coming swiftly. I tremble to think what awaits us if we continue down this terrible road. 
 
I know You don’t want to see us destroyed. I know You are calling us all to turn back to You and to live!
 
“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” Ezekiel 18:23
 
Have mercy on us, Lord! Let us repent quickly! Let us – individually, as the church, and as a nation – set aside our incredible arrogance and kneel in humility before You, acknowledging You alone are God and we are not. Perhaps it is not yet too late? 
 
Let us obey and honor Your Word. Let us receive and share the Gospel of Jesus boldly that everyone might hear and have a chance to experience Your great salvation and goodness. Let us celebrate life and protect the innocent. Let our children live in safety and Your blessing. Let us hate evil and love what You say is good.
Show us our part, as believers in Christ. What do You desire each of us to do to stand for Your truth and to protect and save innocent lives? What do You desire us to do to change the course of our nation and culture? Empower Your people to rise and stand firmly for truth and to lead many to Your kingdom. We are at war, Lord. This is spiritual war and the carnage is staggering. Where can we go from here but either to the rapture, a Great Awakening, or judgment?
Let us, as Your people, cry out to You on our faces for Your intervention!
 
Amen.
 
AMOS 8:1-2
This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. “What do you see, Amos?” he asked.
 
“A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered.
 
Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.”
RELATED
What Is Lordship Salvation by www.gotquestions.org
What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

How Wrong Praying Destroyed My Faith in God – By Nikki

Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash

Today’s post is a guest post by a precious sister in Christ, Nikki. She is from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. I’m so thankful for her willingness to share a bit of her story. I believe it may be a blessing to many other women:

I’m sharing with you an account of how I completely lost my faith in God by praying for my family. I was facing some severe family problems and began to pray in earnest.

Old Approach to Prayer

Below is list of the advice I followed during that period of my life:

  • I sprinkled my entire house and all of my possessions with holy water and blessed salt.
  • I said dozens of novenas (Note: a novena is a Catholic tradition of saying a prayer every day for 9 days). I bought a book of novena prayers and each one said at the bottom “This is a very powerful novena that has never been known to fail.” I said novena after novena expecting and hoping for some change and things only got worse and worse.
  • I was told to buy a particular type of cross and get it blessed by a particular monk and place it over the front door of my home.
  • I went to church more than once a week, expecting that God would be obligated to obey me because of that.

Bad Advice

Everyone I went to for advice suggested a different prayer or ritual. No one advised me to check my own heart and clear it of any pride, anger, unforgiveness, selfishness or idols. The more I prayed and performed these gimmicks, the worse things in my family got and I ended up completely heartbroken, bitter and angry at God. I hated God and wanted nothing to do with him for almost 10 years…until I had a stranger approach me on a beach and led me to pray and give my life to Christ.

When I started to rebuild my relationship with Christ, I prayed for my family very hesitantly and with a lot of fear. I was terrified of getting my heart broken again. I wanted more than anything to preserve my relationship with God first and foremost, regardless of how other aspects of my life were going.

Losing your faith in God through following gimmicks is not isolated among Catholics. I know many Protestants who lost their faith in God through gimmicks like sending “seed money” to particular TV-evangelists or pastor, by “naming and claiming” things that they want, or by writing down a list of the things that they want and putting it in the centre of their Bibles.

Red Flags for Prayer

Because of my horrific experience, I would like you all to be aware of these red flags that you may be praying in the wrong way:

  • Do you want your prayer request more than you want God? If you do, that is idolatry. Your idols will always destroy you spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even physically. So please work daily to identify any idols in your heart and tear them down. Don’t even allow your husband or children to be on the throne of your heart. Set Jesus alone on the throne of your heart.
  • Do you trust the words of the prayer itself or the rituals you are participating in more than you trust God? No prayer is powerful and fail-proof. Only God is powerful. No prayer should be trusted. Only God deserves your trust. Keep that in mind when you are praying. (From Peaceful Wife, we pray to have communication with the Lord and to present our needs and requests before Him. Prayers should not be looked upon as “spells.”)
  • Are you hanging on to any anger, unforgiveness, revenge or hatred? God is more concerned with the condition of your heart than whatever prayer you are saying. He will not answer our prayers if we are harbouring sinful anger and hatred in our hearts. (Ps. 66:18)
  • Are you ignoring your God-given role? Husbands are advised to fulfil their role to love their wives so that nothing will hinder their prayers (1 Peter 3:7). Similarly, children should fulfill their role to honour their parents and married women should fulfill their role to respect their husbands so that nothing can hinder their prayers.
  • Are you attempting to manipulate or force God to do what you are asking Him to do? God is not a genie in a bottle who submits to us. We are meant to submit to Him. If we treat God like some sort of cosmic Genie and think that if we do/say the “right words,” He will be forced to obey us and give us what we want, we are praying with very sinful motives.
  • Are you praying for others in an attempt to control them or force them to change their ways to suit you? God does not allow us to have ultimate control and authority over anyone. Only He is sovereign. (From Peaceful Wife – even He doesn’t force people to obey Him, but gives people free will.)

Green Flags for Prayer

I have learned a lot about prayer and God over the past few years and I would like to share with you some green flags that prove that you are praying in the right way:

If we pray in this way, we will be standing on the Solid Rock and we will have hope and joy even in the midst of great trials, whether God gives us what we want or not.

Trusting God in Trials

Right now, I am facing trials of many kinds, but rather than sinking into a pit of despair, hopelessness, and heartache, I am at peace and growing in my faith because I know that God loves me and is in charge of everything.

I actually focus 95% of my time with God on reading the Bible and discovering the truth and beauty of God’s Word and only about 5% of my time praying for specific outcomes for myself, my marriage and my family. My primary focus is on loving Jesus and building my relationship with Him, and not on my circumstances.

Habukkuk 3:17–19 sums up what our attitude should be:

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

 

I’m sure that Habukkuk would have wanted the fig trees to bud, the fields to produce ample food, and many strong, healthy animals in his land. He didn’t have any of those things, but his love for God lifted his spirits, gave him strength, and filled him with joy.

Praying with Humility:

And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.” Luke 7:6-7

I hope that you can all learn from my story of misplaced hope and my discovery of what prayer is really about. I really would love all of us to have great relationships with Christ and rejoice together in heaven, which will be the ultimate prayer-fest!

SHARE

Can you relate to Nikki’s story? What were some approaches you have used with prayer in the past that were unhealthy? What wisdom has God given you about prayer as you have grown in your faith in Christ?

Note – We will use the comments on this post to discuss praying to God rather than debating various theological differences between Christian denominations. Christ prayed in John 17:21 that all Christians will be one and that is what this blog strives to foster. Thanks for understanding!

RELATED
Posts about idolatry

Posts about prayer

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

 

My Desire for Marriages

Photo by Marius Muresan on Unsplash

It’s important to know what someone’s end goals are if you are considering following his/her advice or teaching. And it is important to know from what source the teacher derives authority to teach. Is it the Bible – the infallible Word of God? Or is it self, human wisdom, popular psychology, or something else?

I write for women, so I focus a lot on our piece of the puzzle. But what is my goal for marriages overall? What is the big picture in my mind as I write?

The biggest thing is I want to see us all seek to live for and honor the Lord in every thought, motive, word, and deed.

I want to see us all live for Christ and obey His instructions for us.

I long to see:

Both Spouses:

Husbands:

Wives:

Marriages:

Children:

  • Witness godly examples in their parents and have security in their homes so they can be well-prepared for godly marriages and parenting themselves, in the future.
  • Treat both parents with honor and respect. (Eph. 6:1-4)
  • Obey parents (unless parents tell child to clearly sin against God’s Word). (Col. 3:20)

Everyone in the family:

  • Know and receive the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Be safe at home – emotionally, financially, spiritually, mentally, and physically.
  • Avoid all kinds of mistreatment, sin against anyone else, and abuse – husbands, wives, and children.
  • Seek to turn from anything God calls sin – every single kind of sin, even in the thoughts/motives – to His holy ways.
  • To repent from sin to the Lord and to those we hurt.
  • Extend grace and forgiveness to each other, knowing how much grace, mercy, and forgiveness we have each received from God, and to rebuild any broken trust.
  • Reject the world’s ways and lies.
  • Cherish masculinity and femininity and celebrate the differences.
  • Be conformed to the image of Christ by the power of God. (Rom. 8:28-29)
  • Shine for Christ and be the salt and light that is so desperately needed in this dark, decaying world. (Matt. 5:13-14Phil. 2:14-16)

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

Why Do I Only Teach Women?

I do this out of respect for God’s Word. There are two places in the New Testament that say that women are not to teach or have authority over men in the church.

However, the older women are to teach the younger women (Titus 2:3-5) about being godly wives and mothers. That is my calling from the Lord!

Greg and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage in May of this year. I long to share the treasures God has shown me with my sisters. I am not the same person I was 10 years ago when God first opened my eyes to just how ungodly I was as a woman, wife, and mom.

I am not perfect. I still have so much to learn myself, but I am changed. God has dramatically transformed me and continues to work in my heart, mind, and life. My hope is to share things the Lord has shown me so that it might be an easier road for those who come behind me than it was for me.

Much love in Christ!

RELATED

The Purpose of Marriage

What Should Be Different about a Christian Marriage? by www.gotquestions.org

The Danvers Statement – a statement of faith and belief about God’s biblical design for marriage

Spiritual Authority – God’s design for every area of life for believers

Are Women Morally and Spiritually Superior to Men?

Are Women Inferior to Men in God’s Eyes?

Where do Rage, Hatred, and Violence Fit into Our Lives As Believers in Christ?

What Does the Bible Say about Domestic Violence? by www.gotquestions.org

HOW TO FIND SPIRITUAL LIFE AND SALVATION IN JESUS CHRIST

What Is the Gospel?

What Is Lordship Salvation?

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

 

 

The Purpose of Marriage

Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

God intended marriage to be a living picture of the relationship between Jesus and His Bride, the Church.

We think of a “church” as a building today. But when Jesus talks about His Church, He is talking about His chosen people, the ones He has chosen out of this world and who have chosen to receive Him as Savior and Lord. The incredible thing about marriage is that it is a spiritual mystery revealed to the world of the tenderness, love, respect, honor, and beauty of the interaction and spiritual intimacy between Jesus and His beloved people. (Eph. 5:22-33)

The church is “the Body of Christ.” Each believer is part of it. We are “living stones” being joined together and built up into a “spiritual house” and a “holy priesthood”  (1 Pet 2:5). Paul describes each of us as being a part of the body – a hand, a foot, an ear, an eye, the nose, etc… We work together with the Head of the Body, which is Jesus, to accomplish His good purposes in His kingdom.

Marriage displays the gospel.

How Marriage Parallels  the Relationship Between Jesus and the Church

The Groom-to-Be Initiates the Covenant

  • A man buys a ring, today, and proposes to his intended bride-to-be. He initiates and is the one who invites her into the possibility of marriage with him.
  • Jesus came to earth and paid a great price for us, inviting us to come to Him and to enter into an eternal covenant with Him. He followed the pattern of Jewish marriage customs in almost everything He did for us.
  • He even used the same words a Jewish man would use to propose to his bride to invite His Church to be with Him forever:
    • In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3

A Name and Identity Change for Her

  • A bride takes on the name of her husband. When I married, I legally became Mrs. Gregory Cassidy.
  • The Bride of Christ also takes on His Name as Christian or Christ-follower.

A New Home for Her

  • A bride leaves her parents’ home to live with her husband and start a new life together
  • Jesus will come get His Bride and take us to be with Him in heaven – either when we die, or through the rapture. (1 Thess. 4:16-18)

A Life-long Covenant Representing an Eternal Covenant

  • One man and one woman enter into a life-long covenant to be there for each other “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health… till death do us part.”
  • Jesus, God in the flesh (the only One God), and His One Bride (the Church), have an eternal and unbreakable covenant.
  • For thousands of years, a prospective groom would give a great deal of money to the bride’s father.  He paid a “bride price.” This demonstrated that he valued his bride-to-be and was willing to sacrifice greatly for her to become his wife legally. Jesus sacrificed greatly for us, too. He paid our sin-debt with His very blood on the cross. God became a man and lived the perfect life we couldn’t live and died the death we deserved on our behalf. He conquered sin and death to rescue us from condemnation and hell. 
  • A covenant is much more than a promise or a business contract that can be easily broken. It is intended to be binding until one or both spouses die. Jesus has offered an eternal Covenant with us through His blood, the New Covenant – which is vastly superior to and replaces the Old Covenant of Moses. We have access to Jesus, to God the Father, to the Holy Spirit, and to eternal life in paradise with Him through this covenant. We belong to Him from the point we trust in Him and receive His salvation and Lordship through the rest of our lives and into the eternal future. The fellowship and relationship with God that we lost after Adam and Eve fell in the garden is restored!

Selfless Generosity and Joyful Receiving for Both Spouses

  • A man takes on the position of protector, provider, and giver, in many ways to his wife. Today, a wife may contribute financially, as well. But for thousands of years, husbands were primarily the breadwinners and financial providers. Wives took care of the home, children, garden, cooking, and chores (of course, women’s and men’s responsibilities did vary a bit depending on the particular culture). For many women, they had no means of providing financially for themselves in the past, and even in some places today.
  • And even today where women can financially take care of themselves, husbands tend to still have a profound sense of responsibility to provide financially and to meet their family’s physical needs (“For Women Only,”by Shaunti Feldhahn).
  • This is a picture of the way that Jesus gives and provides so generously. He provides for all of our physical and spiritual needs. He provides salvation. He provides new Life and eternal life. We can’t earn it. We joyfully receive and welcome Him and all He has done for us.
  • Both spouses fully give of themselves for the other and receive and accept one another in joy.

His Strength for Her Honor

  • A man uses his physical strength to defend his bride from danger, protect her (and their children) from evil, and to build a home for his wife. He values and cherishes her. She is the “weaker vessel,” and this means it is his job to use his strength courageously for her good. He honors her by fighting for her and their family in ways she cannot fight for herself.
  • Jesus uses His vastly superior strength to save us, to rescue us from danger, to provide for us, to protect us, and to defend us from evil and sin. He fought for us in ways we could never have fought for ourselves. We were the damsel in distress and He was the greatest Hero.

Sanctification

  • God designed marriage to be a place where we are made holy (“Sacred Marriage,” Gary Thomas), where He exposes sin and invites us to go much deeper with Himself. We can’t hide our flaws and sinfulness in marriage. Our motives, thoughts, expectations, words, and deeds are exposed. This is an opportunity for us to repent from sin and turn to Jesus and allow Him to transform us to make us more like Himself.
  • Jesus takes on the responsibility in the New Covenant to present His Bride to Himself without stain, wrinkle, or blemish. He cleanses His Bride with His Word and makes her holy. (Eph. 5:25-28)

Access and Authority for Her

  • A bride enjoys access to her husband’s property, authority in certain matters, finances, and any inheritance he may have.
  • Jesus’ Bride also enjoys access to all that belongs to Jesus. She has access to all of His heavenly riches and provision, access to God the Father, access to the Holy of Holies, and access to His authority. Her identity is now wrapped up in Jesus’ identity. We are co-heirs with Christ. (Rom. 8:17)

Oneness 

  • The one-flesh relationship of marriage depicts the one-Spirit relationship between Christ and those who love Him. Part of the husband’s physical body enters part of the wife’s physical body to become one flesh. Their love and oneness brings forth babies. Their DNA combines to become a new life. This is a holy thing, only to be shared in a life-long covenant as part of marriage.
  • We are the temple of the Holy Spirit as believers in Christ.  Part of the very Spirit of God comes into our spirits. We are indwelled or “filled” with the Spirit. And spiritual fruit results.
  • In the Body of Christ, the fruit of our spiritual union with the Holy Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit in our own lives (Gal. 5:22-23) and new baby Christians, new disciples and followers of Jesus, as we share the Gospel and God’s Spirit works in and through us and others to bring new believers into the Body of Christ. This intimacy we have with Jesus is something we are only to share with Him in the context of His covenant with us.

Faithfulness Is Required and Expected

  • If an earthly spouse cheats with another person, it is adultery. In the Old Testament, that offense was punishable by death, it was that serious.
  • To God, idolatry is just like adultery in marriage. This is a picture of how severe an offense it is for those who belong to Jesus to worship and exalt other things spiritually in their lives. God is always faithful to us. We, sadly, are not always faithful to Him. But we should be completely faithful to Him and He can give us the power we need to walk in purity and faithfulness by His Spirit.

Exaltation and Portrayal of  the Gospel

  • The primary purpose of the human marriage relationship is to point everyone who sees that relationship to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Eph. 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5) God designed marriage to showcase the beautiful differences and interplay between godly masculinity and godly femininity.
  • The husband is to represent the sacrificial love, humble servant-leadership, strength, and devotion of Jesus to His Bride.
  • The wife is to represent the love, honor, biblical submission, and cooperation with the leadership of her husband to portray the way the church is to relate to Jesus. (Of course, with human marriage, there do have to be some limits that the church does not have with Jesus because human husbands are not perfect or deity.)
  • The husband and wife have equal value in God’s eyes (Gal. 3:28) and they are joint-heirs with Christ if they both belong to Him. But they do have different roles. Their value and worth is separate in God’s eyes from their roles in marriage. Both roles are equally important to show the picture of the gospel.

Fruitfulness

  • God also designed marriage to be the primary building block of society and the place where godly children are raised (Mal. 2:15) so that they can model themselves after the beautiful example of their parents. Then the children will grow up knowing about God, loving Him, and knowing how to have a godly marriage in the future, too.
  • The church is to produce godly offspring, as well. The Holy Spirit works in believers and in unbelievers and believers in Christ share the gospel and seek to disciple others and new baby Christians are born into the Body of Christ.

This is why we can’t just change the definition of marriage to suit our particular desires or our culture’s current PC trends.

God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman to display the gospel. When we alter it, we change the picture of Christ and His Church. We don’t have the authority to define marriage or to change it. That is God’s prerogative, alone. Marriage is holy because it pictures something holy and because it is meant to produce holy people – holy men, holy women, and holy children.

Of course, there are numerous other good purposes in marriage – companionship, romance, emotional connection, sexual fulfillment, spiritual refinement and growth, health benefits, more benefits to children, stability for society, etc… But I wanted to share some of God’s biggest purposes in marriage to help us see how holy, beautiful, and powerful His concept of marriage is. And how important it is for us to honor His design and not attempt to change it.

SHARE

How has the picture of marriage helped you better understand your relationship with Jesus?

How has your walk with Christ helped you better appreciate marriage?

 

RELATED

What Is the Gospel? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org

Jewish Marriage Customs – reveals a LOT about the way Jesus came for us and His words to His Bride, as well as the rapture of the church

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

What Is Biblical Manhood? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Biblical Womanhood? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does It Mean to Be a Godly Husband? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Being a Christian Wife? by www.gotquestions.org

My Posts on Godly Femininity

What Topics Are on Your Heart This Year?

Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash

Ladies,

What are some topics you’d like to see me cover in the coming year? I’d love to hear your suggestions and thoughts.

Some areas we have covered in the past:

 

You may have some other general topics on your mind that we haven’t covered. Or maybe you’d like us to revisit an older topic with a new spin? Let me know what you would like to see us discuss in the comments! And also, if you have a story you’d like to share as a possible post about how the Lord has worked in your life and/or marriage, I’d love to hear about that, as well. You can either share this in the comments or on my Contact page.

 

Much love to each of you!

April

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