showing all articles for the category "marriage"

Love is NOT enough

October 18, 2019

*guest blog by Megan King

We see it everywhere. This idea that all you need is love. Love will get you through! As long as you have love, you have everything. Our movies, television shows, and music are all saturated with this overwhelming idea. It's pervasive and addicting!

Love is powerful. It is selfless and generous. True love sacrifices and honors and cherishes. Love fulfills us and gives us motivation to be a better person. But it also fades and wanes. It can come and go.

Love is not a statue that you affix in the center of your marriage and then live happily ever after. Love is the most demanding garden you've ever tended. Love is a fragile thing and it can easily wilt.

We want love to be enough because it feels so good and it makes us happy. And we all just want to live happily ever after, right?

My favorite Disney movie growing up was Cinderella. I loved it, but now that I'm grown, I have some concerns about how Cinderella got her happily ever after... The whole movie is based off of the romantic notion of love at first sight. They didn't even know each other's first names before they decided that they were madly in love. How does that work?

Love at first sight makes for great movies, but not marriages.

To be clear, I am not saying that you don't need love in order to be happily married. This blog post simply isn't about that.

This blog is about what else you need to live happily ever after.

Let's get real - God invented marriage. If we're going to do it right, we should probably consult the Creator. He wrote the laws of love way before Disney and I am pretty sure that God would have a thing or two to say about what you need to make it work. In fact, the whole purpose of marriage was never centered on love in the first place!

Scripture gives us three purposes for holy matrimony:

1) To fill the Earth and Subdue it
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth"  Genesis 1:27-28 ESV

This one is rather simple; have babies and fill the Earth. In God's wisdom, He created the family unit consisting of a mother, father, and children. Marriage provides the structure and safety that children need in order to thrive.

2) To be in partnership
"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him."  Genesis 2:18 ESV

This word, helper, means so much more than just an extra set of hands. The Hebrew word, "ezer," expresses an idea more along the lines of an indispensable companion. Sounds like a partner to me.

3) To serve as a reflection of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church
"For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called."  Isaiah 54:5 ESV 
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church"  Ephesians 5:25-33 ESV

This is so beautiful, isn't it? The love and loyalty expressed in marriage is merely a reflection, an example of the relationship Christ wants to have with his church.

Attempting to successfully navigate a marriage relationship without understanding WHY you are married is like navigating the ocean without any charts - reckless and hopeless. You will get lost and you will sink. Might as well call yourselves the Titanic. You're going down, my friend.

There is an incredible amount of patience, selflessness, humility, gentleness, kindness, and generosity that is required to truly love someone... and the fact is that all of that can only come from God. If I didn't have the strength of God helping me to love my husband daily, I wouldn't be able to do it. Without my faith in God and the gifts of his holy spirit, my marriage would quickly dry up.

When you decide to be friends with someone, you consciously choose to hang around that person more and more because you agree with their actions, you share the same beliefs, and you enjoy their company. The way they handle life resonates with you and you see things eye-to-eye. Jumping into a romantic relationship before you have a chance to objectively make this evaluation is like waiting to put on a parachute until after you've already jumped. Reckless.

Love, handled in the wrong way, can cause us to overlook character flaws in a person and justify their actions or beliefs regardless of if we agree with them or not.

Seriously, though. Imagine having fundamentally differing personality types. Strip your marriage of sex, attraction, even love. What is left? If you can't see yourself hanging out with this person in a completely casual manner, you might not be friends with them and your marriage could be in danger.

A little piece of advice here, if you find that you don't have many interests in common with your spouse...

Find something that they love and decide to love it too. No, seriously. You can choose this. 

Is your husband a basketball fan? Good, so are you. Make it happen. Watch the games together. Wear the shirts and sport the gear. And maybe, you just might find that you... well... you couldn't care less about basketball, but being with him makes it worth it and now you are that much closer. What about video games? Pick up that controller, girl. It's okay if you suck. Does he like to go hiking or running? It's good for you anyway, so grab your tennis shoes and get to it.

Find something that he loves and choose to love it too.

Unlike every Disney relationship ever, Marriage is not "happily ever after." It is difficult, ever difficult. When you feel the love fade, friendship is what keeps you from looking at your spouse as someone you used to be attracted to.

True love is friendship on fire. A marriage rooted in friendship is what makes your relationship a companionship. (Say that five times fast.)

On average, the human brain stops developing around age 25. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you must be at least 25 to get married - I was 22!! I am saying that it's important to consider that you may not even be fully you, yet.

What are you supposed to be doing with your life? What do you want to be when you grow up?

No, seriously, it's important to have this figured out before you get married. Because what if you marry a man that is called by God to be a pastor in Africa, but you are completely unwilling to move to Africa? What if you desire to travel the world, but you marry a man who refuses to board a plane?

One of you will lose. You will either spend the rest of your life resenting your spouse for holding you back or you will be dragging your spouse around as you follow your dreams and crush theirs.

Your spouse is not meant to be your other half. You both must be your own person. When you fall in love and get married before you are your own person, how can you know what you want in your future, let alone if it matches with someone else?

Why does this even matter?

God takes marriage very seriously. There aren't a lot of escape routes and the ones that do exist are rough to say the least. Any Christian couple looking to get married is making a lifelong commitment and a very serious decision.

You can't clearly make this decision when you are clouded by love. Love makes us foolish. It is a dangerous chemical; a powerful potion. It will overwhelm your senses and make you lose your focus. Love is not to be trifled with!

Yes, love is powerful, but it's also fickle. Love fades. Sorry, but it's true. It is a daily choice that must be made. Some days, you won't feel like making that choice! But it's all worth it when you know that you have something to fight for. Something that won't degrade over time or fade away.

My husband and I have a foundation underneath our marriage that is stronger than love! Something that cannot be melted by our sinful nature, selfish attitudes, or the passing of time. Nothing will change our faith in the God we both serve. Our personalities match and we were good friends before the romance began. And we have the exact same vision for our future. We also deeply love each other, but that came last. This security is what I wish for you, too.

I would encourage you to be clear headed when it comes to choosing your lifelong partner. And that means making the decision to get married based off of whether or not the marriage makes sense, not on feelings alone. And if you're already married, it's not too late to work on these things and build a foundation underneath what you already have. 

Just remember, love is NOT all you need.

Megan King lives in Gilbert, AZ with her loving husband and the dorkiest dog you'll ever meet. You can typically find her watching Friends on Netflix (again) or hanging out with the youth group girls from her church, where she's served in leadership for the past seven years. She works as a communications director for a non-profit that spreads the gospel in SouthEast Asia and she loves every minute of it. (Okay, not every minute but she can't complain.)

A prayer for my son's future bride...

October 15, 2019

Father God, 

You are the author of life, and You are love. You created my son and you have plans for him. Thank You for allowing me to be his mother for this time, short as it may be. God I pray that You give him eyes to see, and a heart to desire, the woman You are preparing for him.

Even right now, Father, make Yourself known to my son's future wife. Create in her a passion for You that will be shadowed by no man. Fill her with Your Spirit. Show her that her purpose in this life is to know You, love You, and glorify You. If she, as a child, right now is not a believer, God pull her towards You in a personal way that she will never forget. Capture her heart and show her what true love is. Before she even meets my son, her future husband, cause her to fall in love with You first and foremost. And give her parents the wisdom to appropriately foster a relationship with You in their home.

Give her a high respect for and appreciation of her purity. As she gets older, convict her in those weak moments where she may crave the touch or attention of a man, the kind of touch and attention that should wait until marriage; and comfort her in the way only You can. Give her a heart that desires to remain pure and that is excitedly waiting for her future husband, whom You are also preparing for her. Allow her to remain unscathed when friends or the world tell her she's silly for waiting and saving herself for marriage. Reinforce in her the truth that she is not missing out on any good thing while she waits. God show her what good really is, that it is good to wait, that she is setting herself up for marital success that is for her good and Your glory.

Give her the wisdom to not "date around" and to take courtship and finding a suitable husband seriously. More than just protecting her, God, grow in her the ability to protect herself, guarded in You, and armed with Your Word, and rooted in strong fellowship; to protect herself from the lies of this world regarding sex, love, and marriage. Show her Your true vision and plan for a man and his wife, and give her that vision as her own. 

God give her a mind that is open and a heart that is full. Whether she desires to work in the home and have tons of babies, or be a career woman, make her a strong witness for You and Your Kingdom. Bring many people to Your Son through the way she lives her life and carries herself as she grows. Show people Your love through her words and actions. Grow her to be like the wife of noble character from Proverbs 31:10-31. Allow my son to benefit from the woman You are creating her to be even in these years before they meet. 

And Father, You have been so good to me in my marriage, I ask that You bless my son and his future wife even more than You have blessed me and my husband. I know You are good, and that You delight in blessing Your children. You have not simply made my marriage good, but even better You have given us opportunities to trust in You, to lean on You and on each other, and come out on the other end of trials even stronger together and individually, all in Your Name and power and through Your Spirit's work in us. This is how You have been good to us. Give this to them as well. Don't allow them to rely too heavily on each other or in the world's so called wisdom, that they forget You, but show them Your rightful place in their marriage - right in the center. 

God I know You can do all these things. But if You have other plans, I submit my will to them and I will worship You still. Thank You, You are trustworthy and You will not allow Your people to strive in vain. You have a plan, and it is always good. And I trust You.

I ask all of these things in the Holy and Precious Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. 

it's OK to be out of control, mama

September 24, 2019

Here's a question I struggle with sometimes, and the following is really a letter to myself. 

How much control do you really have in your household? 

Sure, you can control what you cook for dinner and how clean you keep your house... at least to a certain point. But can you make your children obey you? Can you make them eat all their veggies, clean their room, or do their homework? Without having to ask or bribe? Can you make your husband help you out around the house or make him choose what to do with his time?

Short answer: No

What you are able to control is your actions; your reactions; your responses; your thoughts; your emotions.

No matter what you do or how hard you try, you cannot make anyone do anything. You don't control anyone but yourself.

Even God doesn't "control" people.

Yes, He has control over every one and every thing and is ultimately in control, but He doesn't actually force anyone to do anything.

God created each and every person with their own free will, that includes your husband and your children. And what they do with that free will - well, is entirely up to them. Sure, you can strongly encourage or even manipulate someone into doing something you want them to do, but ultimately it is their choice. 

As a wife and mother, God has given you much responsibility. Although you are not responsible for the choices your family make, you are responsible for loving them well and keeping the home a safe place full of love and focus on God.

You are called by God to help, submit to, and support your husband; to teach and guide your children. What they do with your help, support, teaching, and guidance is up to them. You won't always get the results you want, and that may drive you crazy. But again, that reaction is yours to control.

Knowing and submitting to God's design for free will should make it easier to manage situations in your home with your spouse and children. 

And really, you should respect their free will as you have that same free will! You may disagree with what they do with their free will, however that's between them and God (so but out). Just keep doing what you know you are supposed to do. Make the next right choice and pray they do as well.

Thank God He didn't give you the ability to control anyone because that would mean that someone else could have the ability to control you!

Let this truth encourage you and allow you to relax a little. Trying to control people is an endless loosing battle that you don't have time to fight.

It's OK to be out of control, mama. Rest in knowing that God is in control and He sees you and knows what you need to be able to do the work He has called you to in your home. Ask Him to remove your "need for control" over your husband and children.

Let go and let God fill you with peace as you do the work He has called you to do in the home and with the family He has so graciously given you.

Why you should keep dating your spouse after having kids

July 08, 2019

Just because you are married doesn't mean you should stop dating.

In fact, you should date more now that you are married!

Marriage is hard. And once kids enter the equation, finding time to be with one another and grow in intimacy gets complicated.
Unfortunately for many, dating stops once parenting begins.
This is sad and potentially dangerous.

If you do not keep the intimacy and passion in your relationship alive and thriving, your marriage could die. So many people are stuck in a stagnant marriage with no passion and are together for the kids and convenience, coasting through life on autopilot. It's fairly common, but shouldn't be considered normal.

So be intentional.

Go on dates regularly.
Make plans for once a week, once a month at the longest.
Keep a routine and make it a priority.
Schedule regular date nights and don't cancel them.
In your home, the most important relationship is you and your spouse (second only to God, of course). Your kids come third.

If you and your spouse are not a team, working together with a like mind, communicating and connected to the core, how can you expect to co-parent effectively? Children need the input of both parents - that's how it was designed - a mom and dad together. It's very confusing for a child to live in a house where the parents' marriage isn't the priority. They will learn that it is normal to be unhappy in marriage and to not be in love with thier spouse; and will most likely end up in a similar situation when they grow up. Don't let this happen.

Work with your spouse and decide what day or times works best for you both. Consider your work schedules and family time. For example, the best time for my husband and I to get in our date is during the weekdays while our boys are in school. We both work from home and that's just what works for us. It will be different for everyone. If you have friends or family members in a similar season of life, consider making a kid swap schedule where you take their kids for a few hours once a month, and they'll take yours on a different day. That way, you get your date night and childcare is covered. Plus you get to help out another couple as well. Or perhaps your church's youth group has a few responsible high-schoolers looking for a side gig? Either way, you will figure it out if you really want to.

Date Night doesn't have to be super fancy or expensive. But it could be, if that's your style and it fits in your budget. Don't be afraid to invest now in the long term stability of your marriage. That is always a good investment. Put your whole heart into it and don't hold back. Never feel guilty about taking time away from the kids to focus just on each other. Trust me, this is the best benefit a child can get from their parents.

Maybe your budget is strict and you don't live near family and don't really have a sitter option. That's no excuse. You still need date night. In fact, you may need it more than anyone. It just may look a little different. Stay in and rent a movie or binge watch Netflix after the kids go to sleep. Go for a family walk and let the kids play at a park while you sit together on a bench and talk. Cook dinner together and experiment with a unique new recipe. Play cards or a board game as a family and choose to be on each others teams. Steal away small windows of time to focus on each other and don't be afraid to flirt in front of the kids. All the while, keeping it in mind that eventually you will find a sitter and you will go out together.

Don't let the most precious human relationship you have be placed onto the back burner. Show your children what a healthy, loving, and Godly marriage relationship looks like. Show your spouse how important they are to you by making and keeping them your priority.

wives respect your husbands, husbands love your wives

July 30, 2018

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church he himself being the savior of the body. But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, so that he may present the church to himself as glorious not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one has ever hated his own body but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is great but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

This passage is talking to believers. Verse 32 makes clear that this is a comparison of marriage between a man and a woman and the relationship between the Church and Jesus.

As wives, we need to appreciate how the mind of our husband works (obviously we will never fully understand him, and we're aren't meant to). Every man is different, but in a lot of ways they are the same. Either way, scripture makes very clear that wives should respect their husbands. There are extenuating circumstances, of course. If you are being abused, you need to seek help and protection, if necessary. But there are no conditions listed here. It doesn't say, "wives respect your husband if he loves you first" or "If you feel like he deserves it" or fill in your own blank.

This may sound silly, but just ask him. "When do you feel the most respected?" "What can I do better or differently to best respect you?"

For me, I learned that my husband doesn't always want my advice. This was hard for me to swallow because I am what you would call a control freak and unsolicited adviser. When I offer my advice, sometimes it comes across to him in a demeaning or manipulative way. When that happens, I am disrespecting him hardcore. The sad thing is, if I didn't ask, he wouldn't have told me. I would never have known and I would have continued to unknowingly disrespect him.

Husbands also are responsible to find out how they can best love their wives. He also should simply ask, or even pick up on context clues. My husband shows me he loves me by spending time with me, standing in the kitchen with me while I cook, or lounging on the couch with me watching a show in a dark room. Sure I can do these things on my own, but when he's there I feel loved. There is no one size fits all when it comes to applying this scripture to our marriages. But we are commanded by God to submit to our husbands and love our wives.

In our current culture, there is a lot of emphasis on women's rights and equality This scripture, calling women to submit to their husbands, is not a gender inequality issue. It is an obedient heart toward God issue. God is not now nor has He ever claimed that He created men as greater than women. Nor is He saying that man is or should be in control over woman. He is simply saying that in a Godly marriage relationship He has appointed the man, the husband, as the head of the household and the wife. The husband is responsible to God for taking care of her and loving her as his own body.

As the wife, we are our husband's helper, his friend, and support system. There is nothing wrong with being a strong and independent woman, but a marriage is not the best place for that kind of independence.

When you marry, you commit to your spouse and to God that you are joining together as a team, dependent on God and each other, to work together towards common goals. That is best done when the wife submits to and respects her husband, and the husband loves his wife and cares for her as himself.

If those things are taken care of, everything else becomes a non-issue.