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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

We have an enemy.  He is smart and clever, very crafty.

Torn-Apart

He knows the Scripture: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” And he uses it well.

So he comes against strong servants of God, attacks where they don’t even know they are weak, and they crumble and fall.  Families are torn apart, God’s people are confused and oh so hurt, and the name of God is slandered.

That enemy also knows that God says oneness among His children is a sure sign that the Father sent Jesus to redeem us.

So he comes among friends and coworkers and sows mistrust and conflict. (more…)

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Naty and I sat and talked tonight for several hours.  About God and loving Him.  About right and wrong.  About what God wants for our lives.  About having strength and courage to do the right thing.

Mostly we talked about relationships–and the challenges she and her friends have to do relationships well, to think rightly about dating and marriage.

A few of our thoughts, plus a few more of mine, and certainly not exhaustive:

1.  The purpose of life is not marriage.  Sure, marriage is normal and usual, and a gift from God.  But the purpose of life is to know, love, seek and serve the God who created us.

2.  The priority of life is God and to become the person He created you to be and to do what He created you to do.  Discover your gifts—and grow and develop them.

3.  Live in the present.  Where does God have you right now?  Yes, plan for the future, but live in the now.

4.  Focus on being the right person, not on finding the right person.

5.  It’s best to marry your best friend—so work on growing as friends.

6.  Seek to know someone in many different circumstances, with different people.  Do you like what you see?

7.  When it needs to end, be kind, but have courage to stand.  When it does end, do not think you have to own the pain of the other person as your fault, unless of course it clearly is.  Believe that God will bring good even from their pain—and your pain.

8.  Stay out of bed.  Keep your pants on.

9.  Be kind and respectful and thoughtful in your words and actions.  Give lots of grace.  Look for ways to encourage and lift each other; never put each other down.  Forgive freely.

10.  Live out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 in all your relationships:  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

What about you?  What would you add?

C2012 Judy Douglass

Related articles:

3 Realities that Have Helped Us Have a Great Marriage (1)-Compatible

3 Realities that Have Helped Us Have a Great Marriage (2)–Complementary

3 Realities that Have Helped Us Have a Great Marriage (3)–Complimentary

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I love the concept of “culture rebel.”  I think that is what Jesus intended for His followers.  So it has been a joy to get to know Connie Smith Jakab, who writes about and lives out being a Culture Rebel.   I am pleased to have her as a guest blogger today.

I met my husband in my last year of Bible College.  Our bands were both playing a gig for a youth group. I remember watching him play his guitar thinking “Wow, what a guy!” and apparently he felt the same. After much nudging from his friends, he finally asked me on a date.

Two years later we married on.  It was a beautiful day that we will always remember.  And after a wonderful honeymoon we came back to our home to start our happily ever after.

What a mess….

I’m surprised we survived our first year of marriage.  Wow, was he ever hard to live with.  I was fine, of course, but wow, he was so picky!  I found out my new hubby was not the easy- go-lucky guy I thought he was. He was a perfectionist in disguise!  I had MARRIED MY MOTHER!

Perfectionist and Pessimist

Perfectionists and I don’t get along very well because I “feel” my way through everything.  I drive anyone who does things “exact” nuts.  One day he critiqued my cooking.  That did it.  Thirteen years later, I still barely cook.

I also found out my husband is a realist (a.k.a. pessimist) and I’m a visionary with the glass ½ full.  I could never figure out what his problem was….. until I’d find myself in a heap of trouble and realize he was right again.

It seemed for the first seven years (and I’m not exaggerating), we both wondered what on earth we had gotten ourselves into.  Two very stubborn people who were intense in our own ways living under one roof.  I wondered if I had married the wrong person…and he did too.

When I would see happily married couples, it would make me sad.  And those lovey-dovey couples?  They made me want to vomit.

I wondered if I’d ever be happy.

I don’t know what happened, but for the last few years it’s been pretty good.  We actually enjoy each other’s company.  Yes, the same things still drive me nuts (and him too), but we are able to see past it.  I can’t explain it; it’s like we just had to hang in there.  Now that we’ve been married for 13 years, I wouldn’t want to start over with anyone else.

Marriage Is Like a Mirror

There’s something I heard many years ago that has stuck with me:  “Marriage is like a mirror put right in front of you to show you what you’re really like.”  Is that ever true!  I was such a nice, sweet, gentle girl till I got married!  All my selfishness came rushing to the surface and showed its ugly face.  At first I thought it was all my husband’s fault, but I know better now.  It was there all along.  God has used my husband to show me my weaknesses.

God uses marriage to show us the things hidden deep inside us that He wants to purge.  He does this because He loves us too much to let us stay the same.  He made woman to be a helper for man.  Little did man know that would not be just a cheerleader for him, but one who has no problem telling him what he needs to deal with.

I thought marriage was designed to make me happy.  That attitude was hurting my marriage, and is currently destroying over 50% of North American marriages.  Marriage is not for the other person to fulfill our happiness.  How could they possibly live up to that kind of standard? Marriage is to fulfill God’s heart for us to have a partner through life, to discover ourselves, to live life together, and to learn what it really means to love despite.  Happiness, ironically, follows when we let go of “what’s in it for me.”

Becoming Real

Marriage shows us God’s heart for relationship and vulnerability. What a beautiful thing it is when someone sees us with our masks stripped away and can still love us. It’s not infatuation at that point, is it?  It’s deeper.  It’s raw.  It’s real.

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit (of Velveteen Rabbit fame) one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Connie Jakab is the author of the blog, Culture Rebel , which is also her first book title to be released fall, 2012. The founder of WILD (women impacting lives daily) as well as Mpact, a dance company that produces shows based on social justice issues, Connie drives her passion outward into the arms of those wanting something more radical and meaningful in life. She can be found on twitter @ConnieJakab.

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Today’s our anniversary.  Thirty-seven years ago Steve and I said “I do” on the lawn of the Arrowhead Springs Hotel.  Bill Bright officiated at the wedding.  Family and friends celebrated with us.

And we are still together.  Three children added incredible joy and a few real challenges to our lives.  Now all three children are married to spouses we love, and the four (almost five) grandchildren have greatly enriched our lives.

But the best of all is being married to this man.  Let me tell you why!

He loves God.

It is wonderful to partner with a man who loves God above all—even more than He loves me.  He seeks, listens, follows, obeys our Lord on a moment-by-moment level.  I could go on.

Thai Cooking School

He loves me.

He has always loved me well.  But in recent years he has increasingly shown what it means to love like Christ loves, to sacrifice for me, to give preference to me.  I marvel at his goodness to me.  I could go on.

He serves me.

His favorite way to serve me is to fix my coffee in the morning, bring it to me and keep my cup filled.  But there are so many other ways:  He always washes the dishes after meals, he usually beats me to doing the laundry, he picks up the house (I am more tolerant), he does our finances (probably in self defense), he gets the oil changed on my red Mustang convertible…. I could go on.  I feel so pampered.

He believes in me.

I do think he thinks I can do anything.  He has more confidence in me than I do.  I have taken faith risks because he was sure I should/could.  He is always saying, “You can do that.”  He has always helped with the kids,  agreed to expenditures, come along to pray for my ministry opportunities.  And he listens to me—ideas, passions, concerns.  I could go on.

He encourages me.

As the more emotional one of us (understatement), I sometimes get down or discouraged or overwhelmed.  Always he is there with attention, comfort, perspective—or an invitation out to dinner.  He has learned not to try to solve every problem, except when I ask for help.  He is so good at believing the best and helping me to also.  He is so wise.  I could go on.

At CSU

He considers me a true partner.

We have always done our marriage together.  For our walk with God, in our living and loving together, in parenting, in ministry, we are partners.  We each have our responsibilities, our strengths, our contributions.   We think, plan, study the Word, pray, work as a team.  This is a great high performance team!  I could go on.

Oh yes.  He fixes things.

The only things I can fix are words, and maybe feelings.  But he can fix almost anything.  When it breaks, I buy new.  He repairs.  And he loves it—thinking of creative ways to solve a problem.   Ask about lawn mowers and irons. I could go on.

Oh the differences!

He’s steady, I’m volatile.  He’s contained, I’m emotional.  He’s always cold, I’m always hot.  He is thrifty, I could give it all away.  He says “no” better than I do, but not a great strength for either of us.  He likes movies, I like books.  He thinks strategically, I think compassionately. I could go on.

And the oneness.

God is so creative:  We have the same passion for the Lord and for our family.  We both love to stay home when we can.   We don’t like wasting time, but we can relax.  We love to be together, but are okay to be apart.  We don’t really like traveling, but will go anywhere to serve the Lord and our staff.

Okay.  I could go on.  But I won’t

Thank You, Lord.  I am so blessed and so grateful!

c2011 Judy Douglass

en español:  Tributo a mi Esposo

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Almost 37 years now!  Steve and I still love and enjoy each other.  We have three amazing children, all married, and four remarkable grandchildren, who call me Jeedoo.

We know it is God’s grace that we have continued to truly delight in our life together.  But there are some truths that have contributed to our peace and joy.  I will share just three of them, with a few specifics in each.  The three realities:  We are compatible.  We are complementary.  We are complimentary.

I talked about the first two in post 1-compatible and post 2-complementary.  In this third article, I will talk about how we are complimentary. 

We are complimentary.

This word, spelled with an “i”, means, among other things, “to respect and to speak well of.”

I think one of the most destructive things husbands and wives do is speak ill of each other—to each other, to others, in complaining, in anger, even in jest. Which is so sad, since this person is the most important one in your life or my life.

Here are three arenas in which we seek to live out“complimentary” as much as we can:

In public

We are careful to always speak of each with love and respect, which we don’t find difficult because we do love and respect each other.

We often tell stories of our lives together, and sometimes we joke a little—especially about our long dating relationship, always careful not to be hurtful.   We truly appreciate the character and lifestyle of the other, and we make sure our public words always reflect that.  Sometimes I am amazed at the kind and affirming things Steve says about me.  I find it easy to talk about the incredible and humble person he is.

In prayer   

We pray for each other.  A lot.  We ask each other what prayer is needed.  We pray then, and continuing.  Steve often asks how he can be a better husband to me, then asks God to enable him to do that.  I do the same for him.

When we see an area of challenge or struggle in the other, we pray more than give advice.  An important prayer lesson that has helped me tremendously is to always pray for, not against. It’s so easy to see something we don’t like, even in a spouse, and to pray against that “problem.”  Instead, we find it is better to pray for the godly characteristics we desire to see developed.  God knows what to do with it.

In encouragement   

One of the best parts of our marriage is how we encourage each other!!  We believe in the other.   We are supportive when God gives the other a ministry assignment.  For example, we have both written books.  For one to focus on writing, the other has to pick up more on family needs.

Sometimes one of us will have to sacrifice for the other to say yes to an opportunity.  We view each other’s responsibilities and callings as equally important and we partner together to make them happen.  I never get over how much Steve believes in me, and am so grateful for his help and encouragement.  His affirmation of who I am and what I can do is amazing!  I pray I encourage him as much.

Be assured, our marriage is not perfect.  I am often strongly opinionated, even stubborn.  Steve can be pretty focused on what he is doing.   But we seek out the other’s ideas and input as we make decisions together.  We have worked through lots, laughed and cried together, and learned so much from each other.  These truths—being compatible, complementary and complimentary—have been great helps along the journey, giving us a beautiful blessed alliance.

What about you?   Are you compatible with your mate?  Do you both complement and compliment each other?   If you are not married and hope to be, are these characteristics on your “list to be and look for”?

 

c2012  Judy Douglass

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Almost 37 years now!  Steve and I still love and enjoy each other.  We have three amazing children, all married, and four remarkable grandchildren, who call me Jeedoo.

We know it is God’s grace that we have continued to truly delight in our life together.  But there are some truths that have contributed to our peace and joy.  I will share just three of them, with a few specifics in each.  The three realities:  We are compatible.  We are complementary.  We are complimentary.

In this second post, I will talk about how we are complementary.  I will do the third one tomorrow.

2.  We are complementary.

This word, spelled with an “e”, means ‘completing”:  either of two parts or things needed to complete the whole; counterpart, which I believe is the best definition in marriage.   This is where the “opposites attract” comes in.  Here are a few (of many) areas where we are complementary:

Emotions.

I have them—lots of them.  Which is, of course, a good thing for a writer.  He, not so much.  He is an engineer.  But God has used us so much in each other’s lives.  We jokingly say that everything Steve knows about emotions he learned from me.  How he has grown: compassionate, sensitive, even sentimental.  Steve has helped me to trust God more and not live so much from my emotions.

He loves that I am passionate about many things, though he probably doesn’t always appreciate my stubbornness.  I love that he is so wise and grateful that he helps me think things through–though I am glad he has learned sometimes I just want him to listen, not solve every problem.

Money 

I have often felt that money flies away from me, but it sticks to Steve.  This is a very good thing.  Though we have the same basic attitude toward our finances (see post #1), he tends to be more frugal and keep track of things.

I don’t like numbers and details; he is great in both.  I am good at finding bargains, though he often reminds me that spending is not saving.  My favorite thing to do is give, which he likes, but he encourages me to be wise there as well.  Needless to say, Steve is the money manager, but we make our financial decisions together.

Walking with God

Yes, lots of compatibility here, but also some differences.  Steve is more of a scholar in studying the Word, and he is great at application–and a superb teacher.  I am a little more mystical, using my head, but probably more of my heart in relating to God.

It seems to me his walk with God is easier:  Steve sees something in the Word, and he does it.  It usually takes me a few iterations of a lesson before I consistently live it out, though that process certainly enhances my writing and speaking.  Gratefully, we seek to learn from each other and appreciate our different approaches.

There are other ways we are complementary:  Steve is neat and organized; I’m not so much.  I’m a little better at sensing the needs of people.  He is very hard working–excessive time off is not so fun for him.  I work hard, but I can spend hours with a good book.  We both write, and my editing skills are helpful to him. I do internet research for both of us.  He is very disciplined.  I think he prays for me in this area. 🙂  And many more…

I’m sure that, as much as compatibility is a key ingredient in a healthy marriage, so is being complementary.  One of the results of long-term loving and living with that special person is the impact each has on the other. We bring to the marriage strengths and weaknesses–ways we contribute, and ways we learn from the other.  God knows what He’s doing when He puts us together with the our spouse–who will be the just right counterpart for us.

Tomorrow we will look at how we are complimentary.

What about you?  What are strengths that you bring–or would bring–to your marriage?

c2012 Judy Douglass

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Almost 37 years now!  Steve and I still love and enjoy each other.  We have three amazing children, all married, and four remarkable grandchildren, who call me Jeedoo.

We know it is God’s grace that we have continued to truly delight in our life together.  But there are some truths that have contributed to our peace and joy and love.  I will share just three of them, with a few specifics in each.  The three realities:  We are compatible.  We are complementary.  We are complimentary.

In this first post, I will talk about how we are compatible.  I will do the other two on Tuesday and Wednesday.

1.  We are compatible.

Yes, I know opposites attract.  And we will get to that in the next point.  But we have found that a key to our enjoying being together is that we are compatible on some important issues.

God is first in our lives.

We each love Him more than we love each other.  He is the center of our marriage.  We pursue our relationship with the Lord individually and together.  We pray together often.  The Lord speaks to each of us through the other.   We want His will for our lives and our life together.  When we don’t agree, we wait on clarity from Him.  We are committed to serving Him with all we are for our whole lives.  We trust Him in the good times and the challenging times.

We have similar views on issues that can be divisive.

In topics such as money or politics or even some priorities, our views are not necessarily the same, but they are similar.

Regarding finances, for example, a key for us is that we agreed one of our objectives in life is not to get rich.  (Though of course we are rich spiritually, and compared to most of the world, we are wealthy.)  We seek to be wise in our spending, not extravagant or wasteful or materialistic.  We try to be purposeful and generous.

We can have lively conversations on these and other issues, but these topics will not usually cause conflict for us.  Peace is more achievable in this compatibility.

We have similar social needs.

Our social needs are not the same—I am an introvert, and Steve is more extroverted.  But neither of us has great inclination to go out and socialize a lot.  Of course, our ministry gives us many opportunities for that.  We get to party  often.  And our children and grandchildren help us do fun, adventuresome things.

So, if we have a free day or evening, both of us would prefer to stay home.  We might watch sports or a movie together, or I will read and Steve will fix things outside or inside the house.

It’s possible to have a great marriage without such compatibilities, but I think our similar interests and desires have really been important for us in building a great partnership together.

Tomorrow we will talk about how we complement each other.

What about you?  What are areas of compatibility with your spouse?  Or, what are strong priorities for you that would need to be true in a potential spouse?

c2012 Judy Douglass

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November is National Adoption Month.  God tells us we are to care for orphans.  He set an amazing example: He adopted us.  Certainly not everyone is called to adopt, but probably most of us should ask the question. 

In honor of National Adoption Month, I am telling our story of adoption—in weekly installments through November.  This is Chapter 4.  You can read Chapter 1: “I Am Sending You a Son” here.  And Chapter 2:  The Road to Adoption here.  And Chapter 3:  The Hard Years here.

Josh is still alive and he is not in jail.

His story is filled with many stories, and I am telling only a few highlights.  The first 6 years he was with us were challenging.  The next 9 years were tortuous.  The past 5 years have brought slow but growing stability and greater maturity.

Josh worked at the same job for the past 4 ½ years, a huge turnaround from the usual 1-3 month job tenure of the past.  He has now started his own landscape business and is working hard to build it into a sustainable income.

We always considered Josh the most creative work avoider we had ever seen, so being able to say “working hard” about him is joyous.

We were thrilled when Josh and his girlfriend Brandon got engaged 7 years ago—we thought they actually intended to get married.  But “marriage is just a piece of paper” thinking prevailed as they continued to live together for another year.  With some encouragement from us, they married almost 6 years ago.

It has not been an easy marriage for them, but they are still together.  And last year her parents decided they were stable enough that they signed over custody of Brandon’s (now) 9-year-old daughter to them.  That has added a significant financial strain to their budget, but I am loving watching Josh be a daddy and say to her things we used to say to him.  He gets the humor of it.

Josh continues to pay the price for past choices.  He is still working to get his record cleared from some clerical mix-ups in the court records concerning his arrests.   He makes slow progress toward repairing his bad credit scores from numerous phone and credit companies.

Today he told me about failing previously to get a certain job at least six times because he always failed the drug test.  New news.  He wishes he could quit smoking, but it hasn’t happened yet.  His alcohol consumption is mostly under control, but it still lurks, ready to grab him when life gets too painful.

Spiritually Josh is on an uncertain path.  He knows God.  He wants to walk with Him, but He finds it hard.  He is certain God is calling him to serve Him—to tell others what he has lived and learned—but he can’t quite say Yes, Lord.

Our relationship with Josh is great now.  He seeks out his dad for help with his business and general life advice.  He and I talk often about the events and joys and concerns of his days.  He is happy for me to tell you his story.

Here are a few comments from Josh about his life—before and now:

Re:  What helped you begin to turn around?

I was tired of getting in trouble.  Fear of going to jail.  Seeing how stupid the things I was doing were.  Growing up.  Good people who loved me and spoke truth to me.

Re:  What helps you pursue the path you are on now?

Time in the Word (though I don’t do this enough.)  Talking to God.  The people I surround myself with—and the ones I don’t hang out with.  People who have prayed for me and loved me.

Re:  What do you desire prayer for?

That I will keep walking straight.  There are so many ways to step off the path.  For freedom from past choices—there are still consequences. Pray for my family to keep growing together.

Is Josh’s journey on a better track?  Without a doubt!

Do we think we can rest easy that he will make it?  Not quite.  The road is still bumpy, with uncertain dips and curves.  But God gave us the promise in Jeremiah 29:11 that there was hope and a future for Josh.  We believe that!

Are we glad God included us in this adoptive story?  Absolutely!!

Next:  Chapter 5 Lessons for Mom

When has God given you hope for a future?

c 2011 Judy Douglass

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