5 Steps to a Unified Marriage

The word “beautiful” is defined in Merriam Webster’s dictionary as “generally pleasing: excellent.” When something is pleasing it brings pleasure, is agreeable, gratifying and also described in Webster’s dictionary as blessed.

We all want a blessed marriage, one that is agreeable, gratifying, pleasing, excellent and yes, beautiful. But how does one attain all this in a relationship that is oftentimes stressed by the pressures of daily living, unrealistic expectations and differing viewpoints. Let’s take a look at what King David wrote in Psalms 133 when he describes unity as “beautiful” in the Message Bible and “pleasant” in the King James Bible.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore” (Psalm 133:1-3 KJV).

This is a very short Psalm, but it packs power in a few words. As believers in Christ, we have the right to ask the Lord to bless our marriages, because of the promises He paid for through His shed blood on the cross. But, what about a blessing that is commanded by God and one that we don’t even have to ask for? That’s a supernatural endowment of prosperity and life upon your marriage, straight from Heaven, and with a condition… the practice of unity.

Guarding peace and unity is one of those attributes that my husband, Jack, and I have garnered from the Word of God, from mentors in our lives, and through our extensive training in formal marriage courses.  We know from experience that if we don’t guard our unity, strife will surely spin out of control and cause tremendous heartache in our relationship.

The following are certain disciplines which we practice regularly that produce a harvest of unity.  Consider incorporating one of these into your marriage life and see how it begins to change your relationship and produce good fruit:

  1. Communication: Communicate regularly about daily activities, but most importantly about how each other is doing in your daily lives and with each other.  Don’t consider it a chore, but rather an enjoyable moment with your best friend. Regular communication in this fashion strengthens the bond of friendship that you have with your spouse.
  2. Pray together: Pray together for wisdom and to seek His answers because at the end of the day, His way is the only way. James 3:17 (The Message) states, “Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others (*even our spouses). It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.”
  3. Repent quickly: Repent to each other and to the Lord when you enter into strife. Strife breaks the unity you work to create and the only way to remedy that is to repent, which means change the course.  He is the compass that directs us back to the peaceful path.
  4. No withholding: Do not withhold yourselves from each other in offense. It’s so easy to build a brick wall and fold our arms in offense. This leads to frustration in a relationship and rapid division. The one offended eventually develops a hardened heart and the one trying to break down the brick wall eventually becomes disheartened with the process, especially if this behavior is habitual.
  5. Forgiveness: Forgive each other quickly when hurt or offended. An atmosphere of humility and grace fosters forgiveness which culminates in unity and peace. I read a clip on a friend’s facebook page that said: “Home is the one place in all the world where hearts are sure of each other.” Oh I just love that! Being sure of your spouse’s heart brings an ease into your relationship and an eagerness to be together. Proverbs 31:11-12 in The Message Bible says, “Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.”

As you master one of these disciplines, move onto the next and see how integrating these simple principles will bring unity and joy to your marriage. Unity is a small word and Psalm 133 is a short Psalm, but both hold an ancient secret that yields a large harvest of pleasure and excellence in your marriage. Simply beautiful!

 

 

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Where’s the Love?

“I’m going out of town on Tuesday. Not sure when I’ll be able to come back. They really need me for this project. It could take a few weeks…”

Marc had been traveling on business for several weeks straight. I was juggling the responsibilities of being Mom and Dad. Working during the day and caring for our home and family in the evenings began to wear on me. The first week was fine, but after the second, then the third, and fourth, many bitter questions crept into my mind: “How does he get to just pack up and go on business for so long? Why can’t I ‘escape’ like that? What about me? Nobody’s helping me. How does he expect me to do all of this on my own? Where is the love?”

As soon as my little pity party fired up, God reminded me of His promises to me as His child. He sparked thoughts in my heart about my over-reliance on Marc for the love in my daily life. I was longing all day to hear his voice on the phone. If I missed the call or became too busy, I was angry that I didn’t get to share my day’s frustrations with him. My mind relentlessly focused on what he was doing and how it was “so much more fun” than all the work I had accomplished that day. My passion became extremely selfish and I found myself resenting the very things that God had blessed me with: my husband’s job that took him away for so long, the house I had to keep up with, and the kids who seemed to drain every ounce of energy I possessed.

It was like a virtual smack across the head, as if God was saying, “Hello! Listen, spoiled little thing. Look at what I have done! I am right here! Just look over here!” As clear as day, Matthew 6:33 echoed in my mind: “But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (NKJV). God brought this scripture to the forefront of my thinking, and I began to seek Him for the love I was missing.

From that day on, I made a daily effort to wake up and thank Him for at least three things He had done for me the day before. I started to rely on God to bring me through. My intimacy with the Lord began to grow deeper. As I continued to seek the Lord and think about His goodness in everything I accomplished, I curiously found myself pondering what I could do to encourage my husband. I wondered, “How can I make his day better? How can I inspire him? What must it be like to be away from our family for so long? Oh, how he must need a big hug right now!”

What began as resentment and bitterness soon turned to compassion and tenderness toward my husband. Through my prayers for Marc, God opened my eyes to the “bigger picture.” There is more to this life than me and my selfish motivations. God wants me to be so focused on Him that every other relationship in my life will benefit from His love. There are no substitutes for the closeness and intimacy with the Lord that can be mine every single day! God brought me closer than ever to His love for me—not just the “closeness” to my husband, but intimacy with the Lord.

Marc and I had talked daily throughout his extended trip, but the best part was when I greeted him with open arms and encouragement rather than the typical It’s about time! Here’s a crying kid. You deal with it! Marc saw the love of Christ in my eyes.

Seek intimacy with the Lord more than anything! God will add the love you need, and all that you’re searching for. Yes, Marc is the love of my life, and I cannot imagine my world without him; however, I can’t expect him to provide all the love in my life. That is reserved for my heavenly Father!

From Great to Greater

Do you want to settle for being great when you can be greater? Whoever, wherever, and whatever we are, we can choose to be greater. Recently, I visited the Pergamom Museum in Berlin, Germany. The reconstruction of the Processional Wall, the Ishtar Gate, and the Throne Room of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon reside here. I […]

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Strength to Endure

In life, there is a delicate balance between strength and endurance. Both are very complimentary, but too much of one can be exhausting.  Fighting with all your strength, without waiting for the right time is frustrating; and enduring so long without the strength to stop, leads to burn out.  Merriam-Webster’s dictionary says endurance is “the […]

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Eating Healthy Doesn’t Have To Be Boring – Part 2

The holidays are over, and it is a brand-new year. You’re officially out of excuses for eating holiday cookies and buckets of caramel popcorn for lunch! It is time to start eating right and the new year is a great time to start getting healthy. The new year is a time when you’re in the […]

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Eating Healthy Doesn’t Have To Be Boring

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring, difficult, or unrealistic! God wants us to enjoy our lives and a significant part of that is spent eating. We have to look past all the misguided information out there on what it means to truly eat healthy, and go back to the basics – what God created […]

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Capture Your Dreams

Bring your inspiration (or dreams) to life with a little help from SHINE’s gifted and creative team… As you have been reading this edition of SHINE, you have been encouraged to write down your dreams and goals. As God deposits His plan for you to accomplish those dreams, you will want to reference ideas, scriptures, and […]

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It’s Not Junk Mail

I love how the Lord communicates with His people! He uses a variety of ways to speak to us, including dreams! “For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds” (Job […]

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SHINE Release Event

On December 5, 2017 we celebrated the release of the 11th Edition of SHINE Magazine! It was a spectacular night of “Pearls and Grace” with beautiful spotlights of color blazing in the auditorium announcing the event—igniting the five senses for a sense-sational evening! It is evident from looking at the magazine that many months of hard work went […]

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SHINE magazine has arrived!

 

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