Monday, December 21, 2009

Harnessing Holiday Lonliness

Christmas is a time of year that many people feel lonely, sad, depressed and stressed. This may be you, or someone you love. There are several reasons why this may happen such as the loss of a loved one, financial troubles that won't allow for the purchasing of gifts or holiday treats for family, job layoffs or heavier than normal work loads, loss of homes and separated families. All of these events may cause numerous feelings of sorrow, anger, depression and overall loss and grief.

Experiencing such feelings as these can influence our beliefs, ideas, goals and dreams. While focusing on ourselves it is easy to be overcome and totally carried away, overwhelmed and sucked into life's traps. But this is not the answer to life's issues nor is it the way of escape.

God offers a much more reliable, steady and secure resolution to life's troubles.
As long as we are consumed with our own lives, we will not be as concerned with those around us as we should. We re told in II Timothy 4:17, "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it." Our purpose on earth is not to care for ourselves alone, but to attend to the affairs of others, thinking of others as more important than ourselves. Our purpose should be to share the love of Jesus with those in our circle of life.

Through our own pain, brokenness, grief and sorrow we can reach out to others who are also experiencing the same depressive emotions we are, yet we can offer them hope. Hope in Jesus, since all things are possible through Him, Philippians 4:13 there is hope beyond the pain. The love of Jesus which brings peace like a river is ours for the taking and once we look outward, rather than inward, life as we know it will begin to change and we will be able to count it all joy when we go through tribulation because the testing of our faith produces perseverance which in turn strengthens us for future affliction.

So basically we have two choices. We can remain in our present calamity and wish to survive the hopelessness or we can rise above our current situations and shift our concerns to those around us. Being eternally minded does have its advantages so the choice is ours.

The holiday season can motivate us to isolate ourselves and pretend no one else exists. Or it can cause us to face our fears, purge our pain and distinguish our depression so that we may be a blessing to others. Through Jesus Christ and with His strength, we can do all things. We can harness this holiday loneliness and create a more encouraging, less stressful life of purpose. Loneliness need not have its way in our lives anymore.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saving us from Ourselves

Sitting in church this morning I was listening to my pastor share one of the most amazing facts with the congregation I had ever heard. Mark spoke of how we all needed to be saved from ourselves as in Matthew 1:21, "And she (Mary) will bring forth a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Saved from sins, yep, I totally agree with this, but save me from myself? I needed saved from me? Wow! I had not thought of this before but as I did, I realized how true this statement really was.

Allow me to shed some light on this revelation. Think about it, we are mere, fragile humans, born incapable of helping ourselves and we leave normally in this same manner. Yet, as we develop into toddlers we think the world is all about us and we can do as we please. The word 'share' is more like a cuss word to us that must be avoided at all costs and when we move into adolescence we don't think the world is all about us, we know it is and wonder why everyone else does not agree with us. The tweens hit and we still are firm believer's that the world revolves around us, but now we can't understand why grown ups don't gravel at our feet begging to do favors for us. As teenagers, we're sure parents want to make our lives miserable and frustrating right along with our teachers, except we are convinced they all know absolutely nothing and we are self sufficient so have no need for either one of them. We celebrate our magical 18th birthday and run off waving hastily to mom and dad knowing full well we can take care of ourselves and our parents will apologize for their ignorance of our abilities to sustain ourselves without their help. As young adults, life is all about work and play. YA's don't need anyone for the most part and have no trouble making decisions for themselves without a second thought about the after effects of their actions ...but by the time we humans reach 30 years of age, enough natural and self-inflicted consequences have occurred to prove we need the help from others at one point or another. We really do need a Savior as well; a Savior to save us from ourselves. In Romans 3:10, we are told "there is none righteous, no, not one." "We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" is written in Romans 3:23 to remind us we are not the perfect human beings we had always thought we were.

The God of this universe set up a plan for humanity to be saved so we would not destroy ourselves through lack of knowledge, Hosea 4:6. That plan of salvation came to us and still does this very day, through a tiny baby born in a manger over 2,000 years ago, Luke 2:8-20. Jesus saves us from ourselves. John 3:16-17 confirms our eternal destiny aside from receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior.Won't you acknowledge you are a sinner in need of a Savior today?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trusting God in Uncertainty

This morning my hubby told me he had an interview with an employer in Arizona. It went well and he was offered a job with good pay, good insurance, nice place to work and a pleasant boss at that. I was excited but heard a sense of hesitancy in my husband's voice. He was not so sure we could find a place to live after having been through this year's trials. The outcome has not been pretty.

Uncertainty visits us all, especially in these times of economic trouble.
God reminds us to "Trust in the Lord always and lean not on our own understanding", Proverbs 3:5 God's ways are so much higher than mine so why should I lean on whatever understanding I have of any situation? Trusting in God leads to peace, God's will, assurance and security. Leaning on my own understanding usually gets me nowhere.

My family has had to trust God so much this past year and I must admit it has stretched us in so many different directions, but always closer to Him. We have not understand why my husband lost his job in January, our home at this present time, and our grown children have been scattered throughout three different states. We still don't know what His plans are for us, but we have chosen to lean not on our understanding because it is vain. Trusting God is the most logical, obedient and safest thing to do right now.

His plans for us are good, not to harm us but to give us a hope and a future, Jeremiah 29:11. Why should we worry when God is for us? Who then could possibly be against us? Trusting God is the right thing to do no matter how things look.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Day to be Thankful

I am thankful to God for loving me enough to send His Son Jesus to die for me and choosing me to be His daughter. I am thankful to Jesus Christ for taking all my sins, oh how many there are, upon Himself and paying the price for them so that I may have eternal life. I am thankful for my husband Kenny, what a blessing and gift to me. I am thankful for my children Doug, Chrissy, Tiffany and Branden; for they are blessed rewards I could never have even dreamed of receiving from the Lord. I am thankful for their spouses, Jessica, Jeffry and Kevin; for they complete our family perfectly. I am thankful for my precious grandchildren, Nathen and Tahlya; I am blessed beyond words because of these two wonderful gifts of life and love. I am thankful for extended family, my dad and stepmom, mom and dad in law, sweet sister-in-laws, awesome cousins, nieces and nephews and I am thankful for my friends because they enrich my life so very much. I am thankful for teachers who push me and believe in me. I am thankful for all my sweet pets as they are therapy to my soul. I am thankful for a home that keeps me warm, food to fill my tummy, a car that gets me from here to there, a good college education, health that I may bless others, a voice to praise God with and my very life and breath. And I am thankful for all of you, what would facebook be without you all!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Day of Refelction

This morning is a difficult morning already and it is only a little after 8 am. Baby is still gone, our family's old Lhasa Apso girl. She was blind due to dry eye that somehow causes her eyes to get stuck shut about every other day. I had just had a friend bathe her and I still needed to un-stick her eyes. A slow process that is not fun for either one of us but it provides a fraction of vision she needs to get around comfortably. Baby knew our house inside well, but the outside and off the deck was pretty much unknown territory.

It was about 1 pm yesterday that I was in a hurry to get ready for work and get out the door when I picked Baby up and gently gave her a shove out back so she could go potty without my supervision. When I put her out front, someone must watch her because if left for more than a few minutes, she wonders down the street like an elderly woman with Alzheimer's. I was rustling around getting things together and I last remember walking by the back door to see her go off the deck to go potty. I took a bathroom break myself and got caught up in finishing my hair so I could get to work on time looking half way decent. I rushed out the door, forgetting to let Baby back in. It as a very busy day for me and I didn't finish at the YMCA until
6 pm, home about 5:10 and then rushing around yet again to grab my notebook and Bible and had off the Divorce Care for Kids at Parkway Christian Center. My second intern job. Still, I had not remembered I had left Baby outside. By 9 pm I was exhausted and excited to find my daughter and her hubby came up from California to visit. I was thrilled it was time to take all the doggies out for their potty breaks before they were locked up for the night. This was around 11 pm and it hit me, Baby was not in the house for me to let out. I thought my heart was going to stop. I quickly grabbed my coat and ran outside with a flashlight , combing every inch of the yard overgrown with grass and dead weeds. I called and called, no answer, no movement. I went form one corner to the next, scanning the edges against the fence, looking under boards, anywhere she might have wondered as she was seeking shelter to stay warm. My daughter came out with flashlight in hand, inspecting every inch of the rain-soaked yard and into our pasture of half an acre, scouring ditches and hunting along fence lines for a little ball of fluff; lifeless or not. With temperatures in the low 30,s a small, bony dog has little chance of survival past a few hours, not to mention late into the frigid night. We jumped in the car and drove up and down our street for an almost an hour, checking out ditches, looking behind bushes and under parked cars in driveways. She was nowhere to be found.

It is almost 9 am and still not sight of Baby. I can count the times I woke last night, shuffled to the back door, flipped on the patio light and peered out the frosty window in hopes of seeing her huddled against the glass door. Realizing this is all my fault why she is not comfortably sleeping under my coffee table, just a couple of feet from a splendid fire in our woodstove, I cried off and on throughout the night, one minute wondering where she could be; did she find one of the escape holes to the front yard and wander down the road again only to be picked up by someone driving by? Hopefully this was her fate. Perhaps someone who caught sight of her before running her over and felt sorry for her, whisked her up into their car and she rested all night in a warm, cozy warm living room with a snack before nodding off to sleep. Prayerfully, she is still sleeping as she usually does until about 11 am, and then wakes to a nice breakfast and lots of petting an calm, soothing voices around her. I can only hope and pray she is alright.

I guess this is where trust comes in, in its fullness. I caused this most unfortunate event and there is nothing I can do to ensure Baby's safety, warmth, or security right now. It is up to God. I will keep praying for Baby and have informed my family and friends, near and far, of the dire need to be praying for her safety, wherever she is.

God reminds us to "Trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding" in Proverbs 3:5. I must trust God for Baby's safety and very life and lean not on my own understanding of what might have happened to her. knowing God wants me to trust in Him, makes me feel a bit better because I know God is able to keep that which concerns me. So in this case, I believe He is with Baby, wherever she is; watching over her and calming her fears. Now, I must continue on with my day, praying for her return and trusting God to care for her as His creation. Trusting God . . . what a lesson indeed.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Not my own.........

Kenny called me and told me he had another job offer from the Christian owner of the tire shop we visited while there last March. Now going from $25 per hour to $15 I hourly is a significant reduction, but as I began to think about it, I heard God whispering to me that He was giving me the desires of my heart. I said, “What? How?” He brought to memory the past several years I have been asking Him to draw me closer to Him and to help me trust Him to a greater degree. Wow! This is it? Figures it has to involved finances, one of the hardest areas to totally surrender. I have not had trouble cheerfully giving 20% of my income when I made good money, but was I ready for us to live on almost half of what Ken made here in Oregon to grow closer to God, to trust him more fully? If not, whoa! I have a bigger issue on my hands than my distance from God or lack of trusting Him fully.

Am I trusting in money through Ken’s job or want to avoid stressing about money? That’s not trusting God for my finances. Do I want Ken to make more money so we can help our kids and others? That’s not trusting God to financially care for or provide for them. Would I rather have more money to give to God? I know God doesn’t need my money and can multiply any amount we give to increase the kingdom for Him.

Surrendering means giving up what I think I have a right to. In all actuality, when I gave my life to the Lord, did I mean for a time, only if certain requirements were met or just specific areas of my life? I don’t recall making a deal with him such as this but somehow when it comes to asking more from me than I had expected to give, conditions fill my head and fear seems to grasp my heart.

Have I not built enough monuments reminding me of God’s faithfulness, protection, goodness and sovereignty? Why would I think he would stop supplying our needs when that is basically what we are going out to Arizona with and not much else? Why is it hard for me to trust Him yet again, when I have peace about this decision of Kenny’s even though it was NOT my first choice? Could I be engineering my own peace over this massive pay deduction? Uh, I would think not.

So I have a choice . . . will I surrender or grasp tightly that which doesn’t belong to me in the first place? Hmmm, let me think, or rather pray about this. What is there really to think about? What is there really to pray about? Do I love God or not? Have I totally given Him my life or have I not? Do I trust Him or don’t I? I believe a surrender that brings me closer to sweet Jesus and causes me to trust in Him more is the only choice for me. Awww, a sweet surrender it is. Arizona, here we come!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Marriage Code Part III

Unlocking the code to your marriage will take work, dedication, patience,you'll need enthusiasm, intelligence, creativity and most of all, God's help. Moving into the dynamics and living above the line are the backbone of a successful marriage. Because we live in fallen world, sin abounds and temptations are everywhere. Remember though, Jesus has overcome the world and since He crucified our flesh for us, we no longer have to yield to sin's power and control. The victory is ours if we'll just reach out and take it for all its worth.

At the end of chapter 1, Bill and Pam list some questions meant for dialogue over dinner or a cup of coffee. Take these to heart, spend time thinking about them, learn to truly appreciate your spouse for who he is. Make your love last a lifetime.

Attempts to live below the line creates distrust, insecurity and will always be unsuccessful. A husband and wife do themselves a world of good to find out what makes eachother feel secure and successful, loved and respected, and most importantly, accepted by one another just as God has accepted each spouse.


To order Bill and Pam's book The Marriage Code, go to http://www.farrelcommunications.com/

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chrissy's Big Day in Surgery


Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.

How I love this scripture. Right now my sweet, oldest daughter, Chrissy is in surgery and I am reminding her of this wonderful scripture of promise. This past weekend was such a turning point for her regarding her walk with the Lord. My spirit leaped with joy as she unfolded the details and I could see a spiritual spark going off inside her.

Dealing with the pain of endometriosis and cysts has been such a challenge for Chrissy. While she would accompany friend after friend into the delivery rooms, coaching them during their childbirth and rejoicing with them over their beautiful miracles of joy, she intensely ached to have a baby of her own to carry, feel kick within her belly, deliver and kiss it's tiny face. She's pictured here embracing her precious niece, Keera.

As today is the day of salvation, it is also a day of happiness, peace, relief, excitement and great anticipation of what our sweet Lord has in store for her and Kevin. Earnest prayers going out for her and the excitement of a pathway cleared to invite conception and finally a miracle baby to be born with Chrissy's sweet spirit and Kevin's witty personality endowed with an unshakable love for Jesus and an astounding faith that will rock this world!

What an awesome day this is! Thank you everyone for your prayers.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Marriage Code - part II

Knowing the marriage code sure makes a world of difference. Bill and Pam Farrel tell us in their book, The Marriage Code, the username for wives is wife and the password is success which gives her access into a workable relationship with her husband. A woman's greatest desire is to connect with her husband emotionally, spiritually and financially. She wants her husband to experience the same emotional fullness she does. I have to agree with Bill and Pam. Come on ladies, think about it. Do we not want our hubbies to feel the same things we feel, understand how we understand and love us like we want to be loved. Let's be honest now. I know I am guilty of this. What happened to the giving part of the relationship? All of a sudden somehow, somewhere, as wives we begin to get caught up in the selfishness of being a spouse and the next thing you know, life is all about us. Not good....

Bill and Pam also say that the username for husband is husband and the password is security. Using these gives husband's access into workable relationships with their wives. His greatest desire is to help his wife succeed at what she wants to do in life. Meeting a wife's security need first in all things. This goes against a man's most basic instincts, but if a husband accomplishes this task, he draws his wife towards him and the relationship becomes relaxed. All simply because of the marriage code that can radically change a marriage.

Knowing issues within our marriage can make a world of difference once we know how to access the marriage codes that provide succession our husband's and security for us wives.


To purchase their book go to: http://www.farrelcommunications.com/

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Marriage Code

My husband and I have been reading The Marriage Code by Bill and Pam Farrel and wanted to share a few things we thought might interest all who are married, and those who might be one day.

Discovering our own secret love languages has imperical value these days. We can find this language through understanding the secret code in marriages. Living in a world that uses codes has its advantages. We have usernames and passwords that get us into our email, facebook, twitter, eBay, blogspot, myspace, craigs list, amazon accounts, why would we not think there might be a code to delve inside the best parts of our relationships? Well there is. Taken right from Bill and Pam's book are a few tidbits to get you thinking.

* It is obvious when the code is in place because your relationship works well.

* It is just as obvious when the code is not in place because almost everything is out of sync.

* Entering the marriage code into your relationship is a daily exercise. In the same way that you need to enter a username and password into your computer each time you start it up, your love relationship needs an access code every day.

* The marriage code is based on the most common needs that men and women have.


Relationships are not as simplistic as you may have well found out by now. Men and women have different needs at the core of their very beings. These core needs shape how life is approached and how relationships are interacted within. Bill and Pam believe every person has these two core needs within them; the need for security and success. Security being the belief it is safe to be who we are. Success being the belief that our lives are workable.

Read more each day to find out what makes The Marriage Code such a life changing book every married couple should be reading!Whether you have figured out the marriage code in your own relationship or not, this book will give you keen insight to help other married couples. It can also be a valuable tool used in premarital counseling to give engaged couples an edge on their lifetime commitment of marriage.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Check out the lyrics to Fyleaf - you're teens are gonna love it!

I love the way that your heart breaks
with every injustice and deadly fate
Praying it all be new
and living like it all depends on you

Here you are down on your knees again
trying to find air to breathe again
Only surrender will help you now
I love you please see and believe again

I love that you’re never satisfied
with face value wisdom and happy lies
you take what they say and go back and cry
you’re so close to me that you nearly died

Here you are down on your knees again
trying to find air to breathe again
Only surrender will help you now
I love you please see and believe again

they don’t have to understand you
be still
wait and know I understand you
be still
be still

Here you are down on your knees again
trying to find air to breathe again
Only surrender will help you now
The floodgates are breaking
and pouring out

Here you are down on your knees
trying to find air to breathe
right where I want you to be again
i love you please see and believe again

Here you are down on your knees again
trying to find air to breathe again
Right where I want you to be again
See and believe!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Investing in Our Children's Future - How do we do it?

1. Little by little - "A penny saved is a penny earned" my grandfather always told me as he'd go out of his way while on a walk with me, to plop a penny he found on the ground into his pocket. Eventually, silver coins also begin making their way into piggy banks and the change begin adding up. Before yo know it, your lightweight jar of pennies will turn into an interest-bearing account reaping benefits you may never have imagined.

2. Start early - Beginning to save early will provide a savings plan that works over time. The amount that can be saved over several years time rather than crunched into only a few years can really pay off and add up quickly. Any amount saved will be more than what your child(ren) will have had if you not saved at all or began the year before they began college.

3. Saving teaches diligence - Saving, teaches your children the importance of saving as well. It also teaches them to wait for things, something baby boomers have a very hard time with. Baby Boomers want it now and worry about what the actual cost in life is later. This can create undue stress and cause hardships that might hinder their actual attendance to college.

4. Reducing college costs - Cutting down costs on college tuition and or/expenses is just plain smart. Tuition, books, supplies and the like are rising each year and without a full scholarship or rich parents, kids have to work to put themselves through college. Any amount saved for college is less that must be allotted for when attending. Every penny counts!

5. Finally, saving is wise - Saving in any capacity shows you can control your money and not have it control you. Overspending, spontaneous buying and the "I want it now!" mentality have no place in responsible handling of your finances. If you incorporate saving as a way of life, purchasing a car, home or other large item will be that much easier to obtain without going in debt. Cash pays off and you can relax and enjoy your purchase knowing you own it free and clear. This is a reward in and of itself

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Choosing to Blossom Along the Journey

I was just thinking this morning about how a seed is rooted in the ground, nurtured with water to sprout, emerges either strong or weak, is pumped full of vitamin D from the sun and grows useful or dies pitifully. Kind of like the human life, wouldn't you say?

From before we were born, God knew us (Psalm 139:13-16) and had plans for us; plans for good and not for harm, plans to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He knew us as a seed yet formed, rooted, nurtured and growing. WOW! How awesome is that?!
But, because of His great love for us, He gave us a choice. A choice to choose Him, to choose life through His Son Jesus, or to choose the world and all it has to offer, to choose death and eternity in hell (John 3:16).

When we choose life, just as with the seed rooted firmly in the soil, we can choose to be rooted firmly in Christ. God is a gentlemen, He will not force us to choose to love Him and accept His Son Jesus Christ. It just isn't going to happen. God created us with our own wills, (remember Adam and eve in the garden of Eden?), ya. We become firmly rooted when we spend time with God, reading His words to us in the Bible, filling our minds with heavenly things and being obedient to all He says. Sure, we are human and make mistakes. That was the whole reason we needed Jesus to be our Savior, but what little effort it takes to confess our wrong doings and receive Jesus' forgiveness, go on and become better because of God's unconditional love for us.

Our nurturing takes place when we love Jesus will all our hearts, minds, souls and strength, are daily spending time in God's word, memorizing scripture so that we don't sin against our Lord (Psalm 119:11), praise Him (Psalm 100:4) and allow the Holy Spirit to wash our lives with His word, empower us to lives well pleasing to our Lord and to be blessings to those God puts in our paths.

Time spent in the sun adds vitamin D to our bodies thereby enriching our very beings. So it is with time spent with the Son of God. Our lives are enriched beyond measure and as we grow in the knowledge of Him (II Peter 3:18) our lives are transformed into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29).

Our lives are a journey of blossoming into what God has called us to become. We can either radiate the fragrance of lavander or emminate the vile stench of a corpse flower.
We can choose to grow or choose to shrivel up and die. It is all about choice; and it is a matter of life and death.



For further reflection I highly recommend-
(http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=3206)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tough Times Gettin' Tougher

With only four days until Ken hits the road for Arizona, I have found myself one moment in tears and the next excited about the adventure that lies before him. This new journey God has called us to is both scary and exciting, somehow all at the same time. God keeps speaking to my heart, "Remember, I am with you", Hebrews 13:5 and suddenly His peace covers me and I feel I have the faith to move a hundred mountains.

As these tough days get tougher, I must remember God will not give me more than I can handle with Him, nor will He abandon me, nor will He stretch me beyond my breaking point, no matter what I feel on any given day.

In my devotional Treasures for Women Who Hope by Alice Gray, I love the phrase "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars", spoken by Barbara Johnson in her book Irrepressible Hope. I definitely feel I am in the gutter and have always loved gazing at the stars. As a matter of fact, my oldest daughter Christina, gave me a wonderful gift a few Christmas' ago, naming a star after me. I received the certificate and a map of just where this star lies in the heavenlies. It was as if God Himself had declared a spot in heaven just for me through a simple star created at His command. WOW! As long as I keep looking up, focused on Jesus, I have hope. What more could I possibly ask for in such tough times as these.

God never promised me a rose garden, pie in the sky much less a life void of troubles and tough times. He did promise me I can do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13), He will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), His grace is sufficient for me when I am weak (I Corinthians 12:9) and He will not allow me to be tempted beyond escape (I Corinthians 10:13) especially when I feel like jumping back in bed and hiding under the covers until these tough times are through. Because God has not given me a spirit of fear but a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7) I can resist the desires to run and hide and come boldly to His throne of grace because He is merciful (Hebrews 4:16). I can ask for strength and power to glorify Him through these trials (Matthew 21:22) and be a blessing to others.

So, if the tough times are getting tougher, I encourage you to hit your knees in prayer, crank up that praise and worship music and begin to thank God for seeing you through the trials and tribulations you are going through right now. He is so able, so capable and so wanting to love you and be loved by you.

If it were not for Ken's job loss, losing our home and going through bankruptcy, maybe we just might not be able to understand those who are suffering these things themselves, quite the same as if we'd been spared this suffering. With God on our side, who could possibly be against us (Romans 8:31) so I have no reason to fear what lies ahead, and neither do you if you are a child of God.

If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please me at Jesusismorethanenough@yahoo.com and I would love to tell you how you can receive Jesus as you Lord and Savior!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

7 Steps to a Healhty Marriage - last day for ths posting, thank you all for sending your suggestions and comments

COMMITMENT

Commitment is the foremost important decision to make before you are wed, beginning with, "from this day forward.." Statistics show, those with a mind set of believing they are marrying ‘until do us part' have a 50% greater chance of weathering storms that come their way during their marriages. With over half of all marriages ending in divorce within the first three years, that doubles your chances of marriage survival. Going into marriage knowing you are basically stuck for life with the one you have chosen, will make a drastic impact on decisions you make together with your spouse, how you handle conflict, how many children you both want if any, where you want to spend your lives together, career choices and much more.

Be committed from day one, make the choice to stick it out no matter what. With this in mind, all decision will be made together, all conflicts will be resolved, you will agree on how many children you want, where you want to live together and what careers you both want to pursue with eachother's blessing and support.


AGREEMENT

Being in agreement with one another is very important as well. Without this vital key in a marriage, boiling arguments are inevitable. Decisions will be made without the other knowing, and often will conflict with one another causing strife and undue anxiety. Stress will rot your bones as is mentioned in the Bible, therefore why not prevent excessive stress from getting the best of you by setting some guidelines right form the beginning.

Areas of most importance to agree on are spending limits when you are together or apart, what is expected of one another in the home, who the main supporter will be and how much supplemental income may be needed by the other spouse, major purchases, who is responsible for balancing checkbooks and sending payments, if education will play a role in either spouse's life after the wedding, how many children and when to begin having them, discipline of the children, life and death decisions involving insurance, retirement funds and inheritance issues,friendships after marriage, television and music influences in the home, etc. These are all issues that will arise after the wedding and if an agreement has not been made, there is not unity and balance which will surely lead to dysfunction, quarreling and misjudgments. Having agreement brings about stability in the couple, happiness and peace. Things that make a marriage strong and last a lifetime.


COMMON INTERESTS

What normally brings two people together are common interests. Where you met, what you were doing and who you were with all have a bearing on whether you want to get to know someone better or not. If the ‘click' is not there, chances are you cannot create it later on. Laws of attraction kick in immediately and whatever you were doing when you met your spouse, however serious or fun it may have been, will likely be the glue that holds you together through
thick and thin.

As people grow older changes occur. Not just physically but emotionally and socially. It is important to know what your spouse likes to do and not do. While you both may not like everything the same, enjoying several things together will bring harmony, closeness and a sense of togetherness into your marriage. While there must be things you both like to do or places you both like to go, when one spouse wants to do something the other does not, often it is a sacrifice of love for the spouse who would rather be fishing than scrapbooking or visa veraa. Couples still need time alone as well, to enjoy activities apart from their spouses. The blending of two lives in to one, does not mean the individual spouse loses themself altogether in their mate. It just means a new life for the both of them takes place and they are joined as one with their own personalities, likes, dislikes and lifestyles blending to complete eachother more fully. Taking the time to share in your spouse's joys and sorrows, fun and sometimes boring events of life grows a relationship deeper and closer than ever before. It solidifies the marriage and a sense of oneness just happens naturally. This oneness cannot easily be broken and therefore brings security and stability to a
marriage.


FORGIVING FOREVER

This is probably one of the hardest things to do in one's life let alone in a marriage. Trust is a very important factor in a marriage and once it is broke, it is hard to earn it back, but it is not impossible with forgiveness.

Whether you've been wronged on purpose or an accident, offenses hurt, and sometimes they hurt deeply. Time does heal, but often, time is not enough. Forgiveness does not say the offense was okay, it only wipes it away, puts it in the past and keeps it there. This is what makes forgiveness such a necessary component in a marriage. In the time you are wed, there will be wrongs experienced, offenses dealt and unfortunate misunderstandings happen that lead to feelings being hurt and trust being tested. Without forgiveness, offenses can be held in the heart, dangled over heads, and used as a weapon against the other spouse and further offenses can take place. Forgiveness paves the way for healing and restoration. Two things every marriage must have actively working in it or it is just a matter of time for the marriage to dissolve and each go his/her own way. Forgiveness is tough, usually needing a supernatural touch from God to ensure forgiveness is forever. It must be reciprocated, all the time. Both spouses must be willing to seek forgiveness before closing the issues and moving on. Just as love can last a lifetime, forgiveness needs to be forever. No looking back, bringing up old offenses, or holding grudges. Trust can be rebuilt when forgiveness is genuinely offered and accepted. The marriage can become stronger and spouses can feel closer than ever, when forgiveness is present in the relationship.


GIVE AND TAKE

When we marry, we are deeply in love, wishing only the best for our spouses, and expecting only the best from them. When we dated our spouses, we always put them first, giving 110% of ourselves, our time and attention. Their needs, wants and desires became ours. We thought alike, laughed over the same things, and enjoyed believing in one another. Every day was new and fresh with excitement of what it may hold. Selfishness was not in either spouses vocabulary, for each spouse did everything they could to please the other. After the wedding, it is easy to get comfortable and think about our relationship as being planted firmly and unshakable. All too soon, the other spouse is no longer top priority. Other things come into play, such as a new job, hobby or interest. One spouse slacks off with their own responsibilities leaving the other carrying more than half the weight in the relationship. If this is you, a check and balance system needs to be adopted and both spouses need to comply.

Sure there will be times when one spouse may only be able to give say 60%. This is where the other spouse will need to give 140% and actually make up for the lack of the other spouse. Maybe one spouse is having to change jobs and more hours at work are involved. The spouse with the same routine may need to pick up some of the slack of the other spouse for a time. Agreeing on how long and knowing what extra duties must rest on the spouse without the new demands is extremely important. This occasional overlap allows needs to still be met, responsibilities to be taken care of while peace and joy can remain between the couple. If either spouse kicks back for too long, burdens are felt by both spouses, patience falls and if the weight of one spouse is carried for too long, the one will crumble and animosity and grudges can form and be very hard to work through. Marriages are give and take relationships. Keeping things in balance long enough for couples to return to routines and deposit into their reserves once again. This deposit is what helps whether storms that would ordinarily shake a marriage to pieces. Giving 110% never sees gaps, it is always covering for bumps and being sure there is always enough to sustain the marriage.


POWER OF APOLOGY

The simple word is quite powerful actually. Saying your sorry covers a multitude of sins and can lead to immediate healing and restoration. What could take years to overcome, can happen in a matter of a few words, I'm truly sorry. These are words to live by, to love by and to die by.

When an apology is left unsaid, bitterness can easily grow in the heart leaving little room for love and kindness. Simply say your sorry. The event may not have been your fault, or it may have been. Either way, whatever touches our spouse touches us as well. If we are to maintain a healthy relationship with those we love, particularly our spouses, sorry should not only roll naturally out of our mouths, but immediately. In a marriage, a spouse normally does not want to hurt their beloved partner, but to help heal and restore them. Apologizing right away leaves little room for hurt to bury itself within the walls of the heart. Saying sorry cuts through the pain and opens wounds to heal while helping to avoid any festering. A soft answer does turn away wrath, and if troubled by anger, you are approached with a gentle, caring apology, it make sit very hard to remain hard and cold. Saying you're sorry, begins the necessary healing and forgiveness process, that makes good relationships better and great relationships outstanding.


BEING THANKFUL

Last, but not least, is thankfulness. Gratitude goes far and is remembered long after it is offered. There are so many things in life to be thankful for, and our spouse should be at the top of the list. When we are thankful, it gives us a sense of appreciation we can get from nothing else in life. Through good times and in bad times, thankfulness for having met our spouse, marrying and committing our lives to them deepens our walk with them. The world is viewed as a better place just because of thankfulness.

Think of the times you were thankful and those you were not. Were not the times of thankfulness far more fulfilling than those times we sulked in our self-pity? So why not choose to be thankful rather than ungrateful? Being thankful humbles and reminds us to look around and be content with such things that we have. Putting thankfulness at the top of our list not only makes us feel good, but it also makes your spouse feel that you are putting them first.. Which in return makes them want to put you above them. It is a wonderful, endless cycle to get caught up in. It seems when we are not thankful, everything in life looks bitter. Skies are darker, flowers lose their sweet scents, people irritate us more and life just seems depressing. Being thankful truly is a wonderful way of life, of looking at things and experiencing life's greatest rewards, no matter how small or how large. Being thankful is always worth it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

7 Steps to a Healhty Marriage

COMMITMENT

Commitment is the foremost important decision to make before you are wed, beginning with, "from this day forward.." Statistics show, those with a mind set of believing they are marrying ‘until do us part' have a 50% greater chance of weathering storms that come their way during their marriages. With over half of all marriages ending in divorce within the first three years, that doubles your chances of marriage survival. Going into marriage knowing you are basically stuck for life with the one you have chosen, will make a drastic impact on decisions you make together with your spouse, how you handle conflict, how many children you both want if any, where you want to spend your lives together, career choices and much more.

Be committed from day one, make the choice to stick it out no matter what. With this in mind, all decision will be made together, all conflicts will be resolved, you will agree on how many children you want, where you want to live together and what careers you both want to pursue with eachother's blessing and support.


AGREEMENT

Being in agreement with one another is very important as well. Without this vital key in a marriage, boiling arguments are inevitable. Decisions will be made without the other knowing, and often will conflict with one another causing strife and undue anxiety. Stress will rot your bones as is mentioned in the Bible, therefore why not prevent excessive stress from getting the best of you by setting some guidelines right form the beginning.

Areas of most importance to agree on are spending limits when you are together or apart, what is expected of one another in the home, who the main supporter will be and how much supplemental income may be needed by the other spouse, major purchases, who is responsible for balancing checkbooks and sending payments, if education will play a role in either spouse's life after the wedding, how many children and when to begin having them, discipline of the children, life and death decisions involving insurance, retirement funds and inheritance issues,friendships after marriage, television and music influences in the home, etc. These are all issues that will arise after the wedding and if an agreement has not been made, there is not unity and balance which will surely lead to dysfunction, quarreling and misjudgments. Having agreement brings about stability in the couple, happiness and peace. Things that make a marriage strong and last a lifetime.


COMMON INTERESTS

What normally brings two people together are common interests. Where you met, what you were doing and who you were with all have a bearing on whether you want to get to know someone better or not. If the ‘click' is not there, chances are you cannot create it later on. Laws of attraction kick in immediately and whatever you were doing when you met your spouse, however serious or fun it may have been, will likely be the glue that holds you together through
thick and thin.

As people grow older changes occur. Not just physically but emotionally and socially. It is important to know what your spouse likes to do and not do. While you both may not like everything the same, enjoying several things together will bring harmony, closeness and a sense of togetherness into your marriage. While there must be things you both like to do or places you both like to go, when one spouse wants to do something the other does not, often it is a sacrifice of love for the spouse who would rather be fishing than scrapbooking or visa veraa. Couples still need time alone as well, to enjoy activities apart from their spouses. The blending of two lives in to one, does not mean the individual spouse loses themself altogether in their mate. It just means a new life for the both of them takes place and they are joined as one with their own personalities, likes, dislikes and lifestyles blending to complete eachother more fully. Taking the time to share in your spouse's joys and sorrows, fun and sometimes boring events of life grows a relationship deeper and closer than ever before. It solidifies the marriage and a sense of oneness just happens naturally. This oneness cannot easily be broken and therefore brings security and stability to a
marriage.


FORGIVING FOREVER

This is probably one of the hardest things to do in one's life let alone in a marriage. Trust is a very important factor in a marriage and once it is broke, it is hard to earn it back, but it is not impossible with forgiveness.

Whether you've been wronged on purpose or an accident, offenses hurt, and sometimes they hurt deeply. Time does heal, but often, time is not enough. Forgiveness does not say the offense was okay, it only wipes it away, puts it in the past and keeps it there. This is what makes forgiveness such a necessary component in a marriage. In the time you are wed, there will be wrongs experienced, offenses dealt and unfortunate misunderstandings happen that lead to feelings being hurt and trust being tested. Without forgiveness, offenses can be held in the heart, dangled over heads, and used as a weapon against the other spouse and further offenses can take place. Forgiveness paves the way for healing and restoration. Two things every marriage must have actively working in it or it is just a matter of time for the marriage to dissolve and each go his/her own way. Forgiveness is tough, usually needing a supernatural touch from God to ensure forgiveness is forever. It must be reciprocated, all the time. Both spouses must be willing to seek forgiveness before closing the issues and moving on. Just as love can last a lifetime, forgiveness needs to be forever. No looking back, bringing up old offenses, or holding grudges. Trust can be rebuilt when forgiveness is genuinely offered and accepted. The marriage can become stronger and spouses can feel closer than ever, when forgiveness is present in the relationship.


GIVE AND TAKE

When we marry, we are deeply in love, wishing only the best for our spouses, and expecting only the best from them. When we dated our spouses, we always put them first, giving 110% of ourselves, our time and attention. Their needs, wants and desires became ours. We thought alike, laughed over the same things, and enjoyed believing in one another. Every day was new and fresh with excitement of what it may hold. Selfishness was not in either spouses vocabulary, for each spouse did everything they could to please the other. After the wedding, it is easy to get comfortable and think about our relationship as being planted firmly and unshakable. All too soon, the other spouse is no longer top priority. Other things come into play, such as a new job, hobby or interest. One spouse slacks off with their own responsibilities leaving the other carrying more than half the weight in the relationship. If this is you, a check and balance system needs to be adopted and both spouses need to comply.

Sure there will be times when one spouse may only be able to give say 60%. This is where the other spouse will need to give 140% and actually make up for the lack of the other spouse. Maybe one spouse is having to change jobs and more hours at work are involved. The spouse with the same routine may need to pick up some of the slack of the other spouse for a time. Agreeing on how long and knowing what extra duties must rest on the spouse without the new demands is extremely important. This occasional overlap allows needs to still be met, responsibilities to be taken care of while peace and joy can remain between the couple. If either spouse kicks back for too long, burdens are felt by both spouses, patience falls and if the weight of one spouse is carried for too long, the one will crumble and animosity and grudges can form and be very hard to work through. Marriages are give and take relationships. Keeping things in balance long enough for couples to return to routines and deposit into their reserves once again. This deposit is what helps whether storms that would ordinarily shake a marriage to pieces. Giving 110% never sees gaps, it is always covering for bumps and being sure there is always enough to sustain the marriage.


POWER OF APOLOGY

The simple word is quite powerful actually. Saying your sorry covers a multitude of sins and can lead to immediate healing and restoration. What could take years to overcome, can happen in a matter of a few words, I'm truly sorry. These are words to live by, to love by and to die by.

When an apology is left unsaid, bitterness can easily grow in the heart leaving little room for love and kindness. Simply say your sorry. The event may not have been your fault, or it may have been. Either way, whatever touches our spouse touches us as well. If we are to maintain a healthy relationship with those we love, particularly our spouses, sorry should not only roll naturally out of our mouths, but immediately. In a marriage, a spouse normally does not want to hurt their beloved partner, but to help heal and restore them. Apologizing right away leaves little room for hurt to bury itself within the walls of the heart. Saying sorry cuts through the pain and opens wounds to heal while helping to avoid any festering. A soft answer does turn away wrath, and if troubled by anger, you are approached with a gentle, caring apology, it make sit very hard to remain hard and cold. Saying you're sorry, begins the necessary healing and forgiveness process, that makes good relationships better and great relationships outstanding.


BEING THANKFUL

Last, but not least, is thankfulness. Gratitude goes far and is remembered long after it is offered. There are so many things in life to be thankful for, and our spouse should be at the top of the list. When we are thankful, it gives us a sense of appreciation we can get from nothing else in life. Through good times and in bad times, thankfulness for having met our spouse, marrying and committing our lives to them deepens our walk with them. The world is viewed as a better place just because of thankfulness.

Think of the times you were thankful and those you were not. Were not the times of thankfulness far more fulfilling than those times we sulked in our self-pity? So why not choose to be thankful rather than ungrateful? Being thankful humbles and reminds us to look around and be content with such things that we have. Putting thankfulness at the top of our list not only makes us feel good, but it also makes your spouse feel that you are putting them first.. Which in return makes them want to put you above them. It is a wonderful, endless cycle to get caught up in. It seems when we are not thankful, everything in life looks bitter. Skies are darker, flowers lose their sweet scents, people irritate us more and life just seems depressing. Being thankful truly is a wonderful way of life, of looking at things and experiencing life's greatest rewards, no matter how small or how large. Being thankful is always worth it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

7 Steps to a Healhty Marriage

COMMITTMENT

Commitment is the foremost important decision to make before you are wed, beginning with, "from this day forward.." Statistics show, those with a mind set of believing they are marrying ‘until do us part' have a 50% greater chance of weathering storms that come their way during their marriages. With over half of all marriages ending in divorce within the first three years, that doubles your chances of marriage survival. Going into marriage knowing you are basically stuck for life with the one you have chosen, will make a drastic impact on decisions you make together with your spouse, how you handle conflict, how many children you both want if any, where you want to spend your lives together, career choices and much more.

Be committed from day one, make the choice to stick it out no matter what. With this in mind, all decision will be made together, all conflicts will be resolved, you will agree on how many children you want, where you want to live together and what careers you both want to pursue with eachother's blessing and support.


AGREEMENT

Being in agreement with one another is very important as well. Without this vital key in a marriage, boiling arguments are inevitable. Decisions will be made without the other knowing, and often will conflict with one another causing strife and undue anxiety. Stress will rot your bones as is mentioned in the Bible, therefore why not prevent excessive stress from getting the best of you by setting some guidelines right form the beginning.

Areas of most importance to agree on are spending limits when you are together or apart, what is expected of one another in the home, who the main supporter will be and how much supplemental income may be needed by the other spouse, major purchases, who is responsible for balancing checkbooks and sending payments, if education will play a role in either spouse's life after the wedding, how many children and when to begin having them, discipline of the children, life and death decisions involving insurance, retirement funds and inheritance issues,friendships after marriage, television and music influences in the home, etc. These are all issues that will arise after the wedding and if an agreement has not been made, there is not unity and balance which will surely lead to dysfunction, quarreling and misjudgments. Having agreement brings about stability in the couple, happiness and peace. Things that make a marriage strong and last a lifetime.


COMMON INTERESTS

What normally brings two people together are common interests. Where you met, what you were doing and who you were with all have a bearing on whether you want to get to know someone better or not. If the ‘click' is not there, chances are you cannot create it later on. Laws of attraction kick in immediately and whatever you were doing when you met your spouse, however serious or fun it may have been, will likely be the glue that holds you together through
thick and thin.

As people grow older changes occur. Not just physically but emotionally and socially. It is important to know what your spouse likes to do and not do. While you both may not like everything the same, enjoying several things together will bring harmony, closeness and a sense of togetherness into your marriage. While there must be things you both like to do or places you both like to go, when one spouse wants to do something the other does not, often it is a sacrifice of love for the spouse who would rather be fishing than scrapbooking or visa versa. Couples still need time alone as well, to enjoy activities apart from their spouses. The blending of two lives in to one, does not mean the individual spouse loses themself altogether in their mate. It just means a new life for the both of them takes place and they are joined as one with their own personalities, likes, dislikes and lifestyles blending to complete eachother more fully. Taking the time to share in your spouse's joys and sorrows, fun and sometimes boring events of life grows a relationship deeper and closer than ever before. It solidifies the marriage and a sense of oneness just happens naturally. This oneness cannot easily be broken and therefore brings security and stability to a
marriage.


FORGIVING FOREVER

This is probably one of the hardest things to do in one's life let alone in a marriage. Trust is a very important factor in a marriage and once it is broke, it is hard to earn it back, but it is not impossible with forgiveness.

Whether you've been wronged on purpose or an accident, offenses hurt, and sometimes they hurt deeply. Time does heal, but often, time is not enough. Forgiveness does not say the offense was okay, it only wipes it away, puts it in the past and keeps it there. This is what makes forgiveness such a necessary component in a marriage. In the time you are wed, there will be wrongs experienced, offenses dealt and unfortunate misunderstandings happen that lead to feelings being hurt and trust being tested. Without forgiveness, offenses can be held in the heart, dangled over heads, and used as a weapon against the other spouse and further offenses can take place. Forgiveness paves the way for healing and restoration. Two things every marriage must have actively working in it or it is just a matter of time for the marriage to dissolve and each go his/her own way. Forgiveness is tough, usually needing a supernatural touch from God to ensure forgiveness is forever. It must be reciprocated, all the time. Both spouses must be willing to seek forgiveness before closing the issues and moving on. Just as love can last a lifetime, forgiveness needs to be forever. No looking back, bringing up old offenses, or holding grudges. Trust can be rebuilt when forgiveness is genuinely offered and accepted. The marriage can become stronger and spouses can feel closer than ever, when forgiveness is present in the relationship.


GIVE AND TAKE

When we marry, we are deeply in love, wishing only the best for our spouses, and expecting only the best from them. When we dated our spouses, we always put them first, giving 110% of ourselves, our time and attention. Their needs, wants and desires became ours. We thought alike, laughed over the same things, and enjoyed believing in one another. Every day was new and fresh with excitement of what it may hold. Selfishness was not in either spouses vocabulary, for each spouse did everything they could to please the other. After the wedding, it is easy to get comfortable and think about our relationship as being planted firmly and unshakable. All too soon, the other spouse is no longer top priority. Other things come into play, such as a new job, hobby or interest. One spouse slacks off with their own responsibilities leaving the other carrying more than half the weight in the relationship. If this is you, a check and balance system needs to be adopted and both spouses need to comply.

Sure there will be times when one spouse may only be able to give say 60%. This is where the other spouse will need to give 140% and actually make up for the lack of the other spouse. Maybe one spouse is having to change jobs and more hours at work are involved. The spouse with the same routine may need to pick up some of the slack of the other spouse for a time. Agreeing on how long and knowing what extra duties must rest on the spouse without the new demands is extremely important. This occasional overlap allows needs to still be met, responsibilities to be taken care of while peace and joy can remain between the couple. If either spouse kicks back for too long, burdens are felt by both spouses, patience falls and if the weight of one spouse is carried for too long, the one will crumble and animosity and grudges can form and be very hard to work through. Marriages are give and take relationships. Keeping things in balance long enough for couples to return to routines and deposit into their reserves once again. This deposit is what helps whether storms that would ordinarily shake a marriage to pieces. Giving 110% never sees gaps, it is always covering for bumps and being sure there is always enough to sustain the marriage.


POWER OF APOLOGY

The simple word is quite powerful actually. Saying your sorry covers a multitude of sins and can lead to immediate healing and restoration. What could take years to overcome, can happen in a matter of a few words, I'm truly sorry. These are words to live by, to love by and to die by.

When an apology is left unsaid, bitterness can easily grow in the heart leaving little room for love and kindness. Simply say your sorry. The event may not have been your fault, or it may have been. Either way, whatever touches our spouse touches us as well. If we are to maintain a healthy relationship with those we love, particularly our spouses, sorry should not only roll naturally out of our mouths, but immediately. In a marriage, a spouse normally does not want to hurt their beloved partner, but to help heal and restore them. Apologizing right away leaves little room for hurt to bury itself within the walls of the heart. Saying sorry cuts through the pain and opens wounds to heal while helping to avoid any festering. A soft answer does turn away wrath, and if troubled by anger, you are approached with a gentle, caring apology, it make sit very hard to remain hard and cold. Saying you're sorry, begins the necessary healing and forgiveness process, that makes good relationships better and great relationships outstanding.


BEING THANKFUL

Last, but not least, is thankfulness. Gratitude goes far and is remembered long after it is offered. There are so many things in life to be thankful for, and our spouse should be at the top of the list. When we are thankful, it gives us a sense of appreciation we can get from nothing else in life. Through good times and in bad times, thankfulness for having met our spouse, marrying and committing our lives to them deepens our walk with them. The world is viewed as a better place just because of thankfulness.

Think of the times you were thankful and those you were not. Were not the times of thankfulness far more fulfilling than those times we sulked in our self-pity? So why not choose to be thankful rather than ungrateful? Being thankful humbles and reminds us to look around and be content with such things that we have. Putting thankfulness at the top of our list not only makes us feel good, but it also makes your spouse feel that you are putting them first.. Which in return makes them want to put you above them. It is a wonderful, endless cycle to get caught up in. It seems when we are not thankful, everything in life looks bitter. Skies are darker, flowers lose their sweet scents, people irritate us more and life just seems depressing. Being thankful truly is a wonderful way of life, of looking at things and experiencing life's greatest rewards, no matter how small or how large. Being thankful is always worth it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

7 Steps to a Healthy Marriage

COMMITTMENT

Commitment is the foremost important decision to make before you are wed, beginning with, "from this day forward.." Statistics show, those with a mind set of believing they are marrying ‘until do us part' have a 50% greater chance of weathering storms that come their way during their marriages. With over half of all marriages ending in divorce within the first three years, that doubles your chances of marriage survival. Going into marriage knowing you are basically stuck for life with the one you have chosen, will make a drastic impact on decisions you make together with your spouse, how you handle conflict, how many children you both want if any, where you want to spend your lives together, career choices and much more.

Be committed from day one, make the choice to stick it out no matter what. With this in mind, all decision will be made together, all conflicts will be resolved, you will agree on how many children you want, where you want to live together and what careers you both want to purse with eachother's blessing and support.


AGREEMENT

Being in agreement with one another is very important as well. Without this vital key in a marriage, boiling arguments are inevitable. Decisions will be made without the other knowing, and often will conflict with one another causing strife and undue anxiety. Stress will rot your bones as is mentioned in the Bible, therefore why not prevent excessive stress from getting the best of you by setting some guidelines right form the beginning.

Areas of most importance to agree on are spending limits when you are together or apart, what is expected of one another in the home, who the main supporter will be and how much supplemental income may be needed by the other spouse, major purchases, who is responsible for balancing checkbooks and sending payments, if education will play a role in either spouse's life after the wedding, how many children and when to begin having them, discipline of the children, life and death decisions involving insurance, retirement funds and inheritance issues,friendships after marriage, television and music influences in the home, etc. These are all issues that will arise after the wedding and if an agreement has not been made, there is not unity and balance which will surely lead to dysfunction, quarreling and misjudgments. Having agreement brings about stability in the couple, happiness and peace. Things that make a marriage strong and last a lifetime.


COMMON INTERESTS

What normally brings two people together are common interests. Where you met, what you were doing and who you were with all have a bearing on whether you want to get to know someone better or not. If the ‘click' is not there, chances are you cannot create it later on. Laws of attraction kick in immediately and whatever you were doing when you met your spouse, however serious or fun it may have been, will likely be the glue that holds you together through
thick and thin.

As people grow older changes occur. Not just physically but emotionally and socially. It is important to know what your spouse likes to do and not do. While you both may not like everything the same, enjoying several things together will bring harmony, closeness and a sense of togetherness into your marriage. While there must be things you both like to do or places you both like to go, when one spouse wants to do something the other does not, often it is a sacrifice of love for the spouse who would rather be fishing than scrapbooking or visa versa. Couples still need time alone as well, to enjoy activities apart from their spouses. The blending of two lives in to one, does not mean the individual spouse loses themself altogether in their mate. It just means a new life for the both of them takes place and they are joined as one with their own personalities, likes, dislikes and lifestyles blending to complete eachother more fully. Taking the time to share in your spouse's joys and sorrows, fun and sometimes boring events of life grows a relationship deeper and closer than ever before. It solidifies the marriage and a sense of oneness just happens naturally. This oneness cannot easily be broken and therefore brings security and stability to a
marriage.


FORGIVING FOREVER

This is probably one of the hardest things to do in one's life let alone in a marriage. Trust is a very important factor in a marriage and once it is broke, it is hard to earn it back, but it is not impossible with forgiveness.

Whether you've been wronged on purpose or an accident, offenses hurt, and sometimes they hurt deeply. Time does heal, but often, time is not enough. Forgiveness does not say the offense was okay, it only wipes it away, puts it in the past and keeps it there. This is what makes forgiveness such a necessary component in a marriage. In the time you are wed, there will be wrongs experienced, offenses dealt and unfortunate misunderstandings happen that lead to feelings being hurt and trust being tested. Without forgiveness, offenses can be held in the heart, dangled over heads, and used as a weapon against the other spouse and further offenses can take place. Forgiveness paves the way for healing and restoration. Two things every marriage must have actively working in it or it is just a matter of time for the marriage to dissolve and each go his/her own way. Forgiveness is tough, usually needing a supernatural touch from God to ensure forgiveness is forever. It must be reciprocated, all the time. Both spouses must be willing to seek forgiveness before closing the issues and moving on. Just as love can last a lifetime, forgiveness needs to be forever. No looking back, bringing up old offenses, or holding grudges. Trust can be rebuilt when forgiveness is genuinely offered and accepted. The marriage can become stronger and spouses can feel closer than ever, when forgiveness is present in the relationship.


GIVE AND TAKE

When we marry, we are deeply in love, wishing only the best for our spouses, and expecting only the best from them. When we dated our spouses, we always put them first, giving 110% of ourselves, our time and attention. Their needs, wants and desires became ours. We thought alike, laughed over the same things, and enjoyed believing in one another. Every day was new and fresh with excitement of what it may hold. Selfishness was not in either spouses vocabulary, for each spouse did everything they could to please the other. After the wedding, it is easy to get comfortable and think about our relationship as being planted firmly and unshakable. All too soon, the other spouse is no longer top priority. Other things come into play, such as a new job, hobby or interest. One spouse slacks off with their own responsibilities leaving the other carrying more than half the weight in the relationship. If this is you, a check and balance system needs to be adopted and both spouses need to comply.

Sure there will be times when one spouse may only be able to give say 60%. This is where the other spouse will need to give 140% and actually make up for the lack of the other spouse. Maybe one spouse is having to change jobs and more hours at work are involved. The spouse with the same routine may need to pick up some of the slack of the other spouse for a time. Agreeing on how long and knowing what extra duties must rest on the spouse without the new demands is extremely important. This occasional overlap allows needs to still be met, responsibilities to be taken care of while peace and joy can remain between the couple. If either spouse kicks back for too long, burdens are felt by both spouses, patience falls and if the weight of one spouse is carried for too long, the one will crumble and animosity and grudges can form and be very hard to work through. Marriages are give and take relationships. Keeping things in balance long enough for couples to return to routines and deposit into their reserves once again. This deposit is what helps whether storms that would ordinarily shake a marriage to pieces. Giving 110% never sees gaps, it is always covering for bumps and being sure there is always enough to sustain the marriage.


POWER OF APOLOGY

The simple word is quite powerful actually. Saying your sorry covers a multitude of sins and can lead to immediate healing and restoration. What could take years to overcome, can happen in a matter of a few words, I'm truly sorry. These are words to live by, to love by and to die by.

When an apology is left unsaid, bitterness can easily grow in the heart leaving little room for love and kindness. Simply say your sorry. The event may not have been your fault, or it may have been. Either way, whatever touches our spouse touches us as well. If we are to maintain a healthy relationship with those we love, particularly our spouses, sorry should not only roll naturally out of our mouths, but immediately. In a marriage, a spouse normally does not want to hurt their beloved partner, but to help heal and restore them. Apologizing right away leaves little room for hurt to bury itself within the walls of the heart. Saying sorry cuts through the pain and opens wounds to heal while helping to avoid any festering. A soft answer does turn away wrath, and if troubled by anger, you are approached with a gentle, caring apology, it make sit very hard to remain hard and cold. Saying you're sorry, begins the necessary healing and forgiveness process, that makes good relationships better and great relationships outstanding.


BEING THANKFUL

Last, but not least, is thankfulness. Gratitude goes far and is remembered long after it is offered. There are so many things in life to be thankful for, and our spouse should be at the top of the list. When we are thankful, it gives us a sense of appreciation we can get from nothing else in life. Through good times and in bad times, thankfulness for having met our spouse, marrying and committing our lives to them deepens our walk with them. The world is viewed as a better place just because of thankfulness.

Think of the times you were thankful and those you were not. Were not the times of thankfulness far more fulfilling than those times we sulked in our self-pity? So why not choose to be thankful rather than ungrateful? Being thankful humbles and reminds us to look around and be content with such things that we have. Putting thankfulness at the top of our list not only makes us feel good, but it also makes your spouse feel that you are putting them first.. Which in return makes them want to put you above them. It is a wonderful, endless cycle to get caught up in. It seems when we are not thankful, everything in life looks bitter. Skies are darker, flowers lose their sweet scents, people irritate us more and life just seems depressing. Being thankful truly is a wonderful way of life, of looking at things and experiencing life's greatest rewards, no matter how small or how large. Being thankful is always worth it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

7 Stpes to a Healhty Marriage

COMMITTMENT

Commitment is the foremost important decision to make before you are wed, beginning with, "from this day forward.." Statistics show, those with a mind set of believing they are marrying ‘until do us part' have a 50% greater chance of weathering storms that come their way during their marriages. With over half of all marriages ending in divorce within the first three years, that doubles your chances of marriage survival. Going into marriage knowing you are basically stuck for life with the one you have chosen, will make a drastic impact on decisions you make together with your spouse, how you handle conflict, how many children you both want if any, where you want to spend your lives together, career choices and much more.

Be committed from day one, make the choice to stick it out no matter what. With this in mind, all decision will be made together, all conflicts will be resolved, you will agree on how many children you want, where you want to live together and what careers you both want to purse with eachother's blessing and support.


AGREEMENT

Being in agreement with one another is very important as well. Without this vital key in a marriage, boiling arguments are inevitable. Decisions will be made without the other knowing, and often will conflict with one another causing strife and undue anxiety. Stress will rot your bones as is mentioned in the Bible, therefore why not prevent excessive stress from getting the best of you by setting some guidelines right form the beginning.

Areas of most importance to agree on are spending limits when you are together or apart, what is expected of one another in the home, who the main supporter will be and how much supplemental income may be needed by the other spouse, major purchases, who is responsible for balancing checkbooks and sending payments, if education will play a role in either spouse's life after the wedding, how many children and when to begin having them, discipline of the children, life and death decisions involving insurance, retirement funds and inheritance issues,friendships after marriage, television and music influences in the home, etc. These are all issues that will arise after the wedding and if an agreement has not been made, there is not unity and balance which will surely lead to dysfunction, quarreling and misjudgments. Having agreement brings about stability in the couple, happiness and peace. Things that make a marriage strong and last a lifetime.


COMMON INTERESTS

What normally brings two people together are common interests. Where you met, what you were doing and who you were with all have a bearing on whether you want to get to know someone better or not. If the ‘click' is not there, chances are you cannot create it later on. Laws of attraction kick in immediately and whatever you were doing when you met your spouse, however serious or fun it may have been, will likely be the glue that holds you together through
thick and thin.

As people grow older changes occur. Not just physically but emotionally and socially. It is important to know what your spouse likes to do and not do. While you both may not like everything the same, enjoying several things together will bring harmony, closeness and a sense of togetherness into your marriage. While there must be things you both like to do or places you both like to go, when one spouse wants to do something the other does not, often it is a sacrifice of love for the spouse who would rather be fishing than scrapbooking or visa versa. Couples still need time alone as well, to enjoy activities apart from their spouses. The blending of two lives in to one, does not mean the individual spouse loses themself altogether in their mate. It just means a new life for the both of them takes place and they are joined as one with their own personalities, likes, dislikes and lifestyles blending to complete eachother more fully. Taking the time to share in your spouse's joys and sorrows, fun and sometimes boring events of life grows a relationship deeper and closer than ever before. It solidifies the marriage and a sense of oneness just happens naturally. This oneness cannot easily be broken and therefore brings security and stability to a
marriage.


FORGIVING FOREVER

This is probably one of the hardest things to do in one's life let alone in a marriage. Trust is a very important factor in a marriage and once it is broke, it is hard to earn it back, but it is not impossible with forgiveness.

Whether you've been wronged on purpose or an accident, offenses hurt, and sometimes they hurt deeply. Time does heal, but often, time is not enough. Forgiveness does not say the offense was okay, it only wipes it away, puts it in the past and keeps it there. This is what makes forgiveness such a necessary component in a marriage. In the time you are wed, there will be wrongs experienced, offenses dealt and unfortunate misunderstandings happen that lead to feelings being hurt and trust being tested. Without forgiveness, offenses can be held in the heart, dangled over heads, and used as a weapon against the other spouse and further offenses can take place. Forgiveness paves the way for healing and restoration. Two things every marriage must have actively working in it or it is just a matter of time for the marriage to dissolve and each go his/her own way. Forgiveness is tough, usually needing a supernatural touch from God to ensure forgiveness is forever. It must be reciprocated, all the time. Both spouses must be willing to seek forgiveness before closing the issues and moving on. Just as love can last a lifetime, forgiveness needs to be forever. No looking back, bringing up old offenses, or holding grudges. Trust can be rebuilt when forgiveness is genuinely offered and accepted. The marriage can become stronger and spouses can feel closer than ever, when forgiveness is present in the relationship.


GIVE AND TAKE

When we marry, we are deeply in love, wishing only the best for our spouses, and expecting only the best from them. When we dated our spouses, we always put them first, giving 110% of ourselves, our time and attention. Their needs, wants and desires became ours. We thought alike, laughed over the same things, and enjoyed believing in one another. Every day was new and fresh with excitement of what it may hold. Selfishness was not in either spouses vocabulary, for each spouse did everything they could to please the other. After the wedding, it is easy to get comfortable and think about our relationship as being planted firmly and unshakable. All too soon, the other spouse is no longer top priority. Other things come into play, such as a new job, hobby or interest. One spouse slacks off with their own responsibilities leaving the other carrying more than half the weight in the relationship. If this is you, a check and balance system needs to be adopted and both spouses need to comply.

Sure there will be times when one spouse may only be able to give say 60%. This is where the other spouse will need to give 140% and actually make up for the lack of the other spouse. Maybe one spouse is having to change jobs and more hours at work are involved. The spouse with the same routine may need to pick up some of the slack of the other spouse for a time. Agreeing on how long and knowing what extra duties must rest on the spouse without the new demands is extremely important. This occasional overlap allows needs to still be met, responsibilities to be taken care of while peace and joy can remain between the couple. If either spouse kicks back for too long, burdens are felt by both spouses, patience falls and if the weight of one spouse is carried for too long, the one will crumble and animosity and grudges can form and be very hard to work through. Marriages are give and take relationships. Keeping things in balance long enough for couples to return to routines and deposit into their reserves once again. This deposit is what helps whether storms that would ordinarily shake a marriage to pieces. Giving 110% never sees gaps, it is always covering for bumps and being sure there is always enough to sustain the marriage.


POWER OF APOLOGY

The simple word is quite powerful actually. Saying your sorry covers a multitude of sins and can lead to immediate healing and restoration. What could take years to overcome, can happen in a matter of a few words, I'm truly sorry. These are words to live by, to love by and to die by.

When an apology is left unsaid, bitterness can easily grow in the heart leaving little room for love and kindness. Simply say your sorry. The event may not have been your fault, or it may have been. Either way, whatever touches our spouse touches us as well. If we are to maintain a healthy relationship with those we love, particularly our spouses, sorry should not only roll naturally out of our mouths, but immediately. In a marriage, a spouse normally does not want to hurt their beloved partner, but to help heal and restore them. Apologizing right away leaves little room for hurt to bury itself within the walls of the heart. Saying sorry cuts through the pain and opens wounds to heal while helping to avoid any festering. A soft answer does turn away wrath, and if troubled by anger, you are approached with a gentle, caring apology, it make sit very hard to remain hard and cold. Saying you're sorry, begins the necessary healing and forgiveness process, that makes good relationships better and great relationships outstanding.


BEING THANKFUL

Last, but not least, is thankfulness. Gratitude goes far and is remembered long after it is offered. There are so many things in life to be thankful for, and our spouse should be at the top of the list. When we are thankful, it gives us a sense of appreciation we can get from nothing else in life. Through good times and in bad times, thankfulness for having met our spouse, marrying and committing our lives to them deepens our walk with them. The world is viewed as a better place just because of thankfulness.

Think of the times you were thankful and those you were not. Were not the times of thankfulness far more fulfilling than those times we sulked in our self-pity? So why not choose to be thankful rather than ungrateful? Being thankful humbles and reminds us to look around and be content with such things that we have. Putting thankfulness at the top of our list not only makes us feel good, but it also makes your spouse feel that you are putting them first.. Which in return makes them want to put you above them. It is a wonderful, endless cycle to get caught up in. It seems when we are not thankful, everything in life looks bitter. Skies are darker, flowers lose their sweet scents, people irritate us more and life just seems depressing. Being thankful truly is a wonderful way of life, of looking at things and experiencing life's greatest rewards, no matter how small or how large. Being thankful is always worth it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

7 Steps to a Healhty Marriage

COMMITTMENT

Commitment is the foremost important decision to make before you are wed, beginning with, "from this day forward.." Statistics show, those with a mind set of believing they are marrying ‘until do us part' have a 50% greater chance of weathering storms that come their way during their marriages. With over half of all marriages ending in divorce within the first three years, that doubles your chances of marriage survival. Going into marriage knowing you are basically stuck for life with the one you have chosen, will make a drastic impact on decisions you make together with your spouse, how you handle conflict, how many children you both want if any, where you want to spend your lives together, career choices and much more.

Be committed from day one, make the choice to stick it out no matter what. With this in mind, all decision will be made together, all conflicts will be resolved, you will agree on how many children you want, where you want to live together and what careers you both want to purse with eachother's blessing and support.


AGREEMENT

Being in agreement with one another is very important as well. Without this vital key in a marriage, boiling arguments are inevitable. Decisions will be made without the other knowing, and often will conflict with one another causing strife and undue anxiety. Stress will rot your bones as is mentioned in the Bible, therefore why not prevent excessive stress from getting the best of you by setting some guidelines right form the beginning.

Areas of most importance to agree on are spending limits when you are together or apart, what is expected of one another in the home, who the main supporter will be and how much supplemental income may be needed by the other spouse, major purchases, who is responsible for balancing checkbooks and sending payments, if education will play a role in either spouse's life after the wedding, how many children and when to begin having them, discipline of the children, life and death decisions involving insurance, retirement funds and inheritance issues,friendships after marriage, television and music influences in the home, etc. These are all issues that will arise after the wedding and if an agreement has not been made, there is not unity and balance which will surely lead to dysfunction, quarreling and misjudgments. Having agreement brings about stability in the couple, happiness and peace. Things that make a marriage strong and last a lifetime.


COMMON INTERESTS

What normally brings two people together are common interests. Where you met, what you were doing and who you were with all have a bearing on whether you want to get to know someone better or not. If the ‘click' is not there, chances are you cannot create it later on. Laws of attraction kick in immediately and whatever you were doing when you met your spouse, however serious or fun it may have been, will likely be the glue that holds you together through
thick and thin.

As people grow older changes occur. Not just physically but emotionally and socially. It is important to know what your spouse likes to do and not do. While you both may not like everything the same, enjoying several things together will bring harmony, closeness and a sense of togetherness into your marriage. While there must be things you both like to do or places you both like to go, when one spouse wants to do something the other does not, often it is a sacrifice of love for the spouse who would rather be fishing than scrapbooking or visa versa. Couples still need time alone as well, to enjoy activities apart from their spouses. The blending of two lives in to one, does not mean the individual spouse loses themself altogether in their mate. It just means a new life for the both of them takes place and they are joined as one with their own personalities, likes, dislikes and lifestyles blending to complete eachother more fully. Taking the time to share in your spouse's joys and sorrows, fun and sometimes boring events of life grows a relationship deeper and closer than ever before. It solidifies the marriage and a sense of oneness just happens naturally. This oneness cannot easily be broken and therefore brings security and stability to a
marriage.


FORGIVING FOREVER

This is probably one of the hardest things to do in one's life let alone in a marriage. Trust is a very important factor in a marriage and once it is broke, it is hard to earn it back, but it is not impossible with forgiveness.

Whether you've been wronged on purpose or an accident, offenses hurt, and sometimes they hurt deeply. Time does heal, but often, time is not enough. Forgiveness does not say the offense was okay, it only wipes it away, puts it in the past and keeps it there. This is what makes forgiveness such a necessary component in a marriage. In the time you are wed, there will be wrongs experienced, offenses dealt and unfortunate misunderstandings happen that lead to feelings being hurt and trust being tested. Without forgiveness, offenses can be held in the heart, dangled over heads, and used as a weapon against the other spouse and further offenses can take place. Forgiveness paves the way for healing and restoration. Two things every marriage must have actively working in it or it is just a matter of time for the marriage to dissolve and each go his/her own way. Forgiveness is tough, usually needing a supernatural touch from God to ensure forgiveness is forever. It must be reciprocated, all the time. Both spouses must be willing to seek forgiveness before closing the issues and moving on. Just as love can last a lifetime, forgiveness needs to be forever. No looking back, bringing up old offenses, or holding grudges. Trust can be rebuilt when forgiveness is genuinely offered and accepted. The marriage can become stronger and spouses can feel closer than ever, when forgiveness is present in the relationship.


GIVE AND TAKE

When we marry, we are deeply in love, wishing only the best for our spouses, and expecting only the best from them. When we dated our spouses, we always put them first, giving 110% of ourselves, our time and attention. Their needs, wants and desires became ours. We thought alike, laughed over the same things, and enjoyed believing in one another. Every day was new and fresh with excitement of what it may hold. Selfishness was not in either spouses vocabulary, for each spouse did everything they could to please the other. After the wedding, it is easy to get comfortable and think about our relationship as being planted firmly and unshakable. All too soon, the other spouse is no longer top priority. Other things come into play, such as a new job, hobby or interest. One spouse slacks off with their own responsibilities leaving the other carrying more than half the weight in the relationship. If this is you, a check and balance system needs to be adopted and both spouses need to comply.

Sure there will be times when one spouse may only be able to give say 60%. This is where the other spouse will need to give 140% and actually make up for the lack of the other spouse. Maybe one spouse is having to change jobs and more hours at work are involved. The spouse with the same routine may need to pick up some of the slack of the other spouse for a time. Agreeing on how long and knowing what extra duties must rest on the spouse without the new demands is extremely important. This occasional overlap allows needs to still be met, responsibilities to be taken care of while peace and joy can remain between the couple. If either spouse kicks back for too long, burdens are felt by both spouses, patience falls and if the weight of one spouse is carried for too long, the one will crumble and animosity and grudges can form and be very hard to work through. Marriages are give and take relationships. Keeping things in balance long enough for couples to return to routines and deposit into their reserves once again. This deposit is what helps whether storms that would ordinarily shake a marriage to pieces. Giving 110% never sees gaps, it is always covering for bumps and being sure there is always enough to sustain the marriage.


POWER OF APOLOGY

The simple word is quite powerful actually. Saying your sorry covers a multitude of sins and can lead to immediate healing and restoration. What could take years to overcome, can happen in a matter of a few words, I'm truly sorry. These are words to live by, to love by and to die by.

When an apology is left unsaid, bitterness can easily grow in the heart leaving little room for love and kindness. Simply say your sorry. The event may not have been your fault, or it may have been. Either way, whatever touches our spouse touches us as well. If we are to maintain a healthy relationship with those we love, particularly our spouses, sorry should not only roll naturally out of our mouths, but immediately. In a marriage, a spouse normally does not want to hurt their beloved partner, but to help heal and restore them. Apologizing right away leaves little room for hurt to bury itself within the walls of the heart. Saying sorry cuts through the pain and opens wounds to heal while helping to avoid any festering. A soft answer does turn away wrath, and if troubled by anger, you are approached with a gentle, caring apology, it make sit very hard to remain hard and cold. Saying you're sorry, begins the necessary healing and forgiveness process, that makes good relationships better and great relationships outstanding.


BEING THANKFUL

Last, but not least, is thankfulness. Gratitude goes far and is remembered long after it is offered. There are so many things in life to be thankful for, and our spouse should be at the top of the list. When we are thankful, it gives us a sense of appreciation we can get from nothing else in life. Through good times and in bad times, thankfulness for having met our spouse, marrying and committing our lives to them deepens our walk with them. The world is viewed as a better place just because of thankfulness.

Think of the times you were thankful and those you were not. Were not the times of thankfulness far more fulfilling than those times we sulked in our self-pity? So why not choose to be thankful rather than ungrateful? Being thankful humbles and reminds us to look around and be content with such things that we have. Putting thankfulness at the top of our list not only makes us feel good, but it also makes your spouse feel that you are putting them first.. Which in return makes them want to put you above them. It is a wonderful, endless cycle to get caught up in. It seems when we are not thankful, everything in life looks bitter. Skies are darker, flowers lose their sweet scents, people irritate us more and life just seems depressing. Being thankful truly is a wonderful way of life, of looking at things and experiencing life's greatest rewards, no matter how small or how large. Being thankful is always worth it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

7 Steps to a Healthy Marriage

COMMITTMENT

Commitment is the foremost important decision to make before you are wed, beginning with, "from this day forward.." Statistics show, those with a mind set of believing they are marrying ‘until do us part' have a 50% greater chance of weathering storms that come their way during their marriages. With over half of all marriages ending in divorce within the first three years, that doubles your chances of marriage survival. Going into marriage knowing you are basically stuck for life with the one you have chosen, will make a drastic impact on decisions you make together with your spouse, how you handle conflict, how many children you both want if any, where you want to spend your lives together, career choices and much more.

Be committed from day one, make the choice to stick it out no matter what. With this in mind, all decision will be made together, all conflicts will be resolved, you will agree on how many children you want, where you want to live together and what careers you both want to purse with eachother's blessing and support.


AGREEMENT

Being in agreement with one another is very important as well. Without this vital key in a marriage, boiling arguments are inevitable. Decisions will be made without the other knowing, and often will conflict with one another causing strife and undue anxiety. Stress will rot your bones as is mentioned in the Bible, therefore why not prevent excessive stress from getting the best of you by setting some guidelines right form the beginning.

Areas of most importance to agree on are spending limits when you are together or apart, what is expected of one another in the home, who the main supporter will be and how much supplemental income may be needed by the other spouse, major purchases, who is responsible for balancing checkbooks and sending payments, if education will play a role in either spouse's life after the wedding, how many children and when to begin having them, discipline of the children, life and death decisions involving insurance, retirement funds and inheritance issues,friendships after marriage, television and music influences in the home, etc. These are all issues that will arise after the wedding and if an agreement has not been made, there is not unity and balance which will surely lead to dysfunction, quarreling and misjudgments. Having agreement brings about stability in the couple, happiness and peace. Things that make a marriage strong and last a lifetime.


COMMON INTERESTS

What normally brings two people together are common interests. Where you met, what you were doing and who you were with all have a bearing on whether you want to get to know someone better or not. If the ‘click' is not there, chances are you cannot create it later on. Laws of attraction kick in immediately and whatever you were doing when you met your spouse, however serious or fun it may have been, will likely be the glue that holds you together through
thick and thin.

As people grow older changes occur. Not just physically but emotionally and socially. It is important to know what your spouse likes to do and not do. While you both may not like everything the same, enjoying several things together will bring harmony, closeness and a sense of togetherness into your marriage. While there must be things you both like to do or places you both like to go, when one spouse wants to do something the other does not, often it is a sacrifice of love for the spouse who would rather be fishing than scrapbooking or visa versa. Couples still need time alone as well, to enjoy activities apart from their spouses. The blending of two lives in to one, does not mean the individual spouse loses themself altogether in their mate. It just means a new life for the both of them takes place and they are joined as one with their own personalities, likes, dislikes and lifestyles blending to complete eachother more fully. Taking the time to share in your spouse's joys and sorrows, fun and sometimes boring events of life grows a relationship deeper and closer than ever before. It solidifies the marriage and a sense of oneness just happens naturally. This oneness cannot easily be broken and therefore brings security and stability to a
marriage.


FORGIVING FOREVER

This is probably one of the hardest things to do in one's life let alone in a marriage. Trust is a very important factor in a marriage and once it is broke, it is hard to earn it back, but it is not impossible with forgiveness.

Whether you've been wronged on purpose or an accident, offenses hurt, and sometimes they hurt deeply. Time does heal, but often, time is not enough. Forgiveness does not say the offense was okay, it only wipes it away, puts it in the past and keeps it there. This is what makes forgiveness such a necessary component in a marriage. In the time you are wed, there will be wrongs experienced, offenses dealt and unfortunate misunderstandings happen that lead to feelings being hurt and trust being tested. Without forgiveness, offenses can be held in the heart, dangled over heads, and used as a weapon against the other spouse and further offenses can take place. Forgiveness paves the way for healing and restoration. Two things every marriage must have actively working in it or it is just a matter of time for the marriage to dissolve and each go his/her own way. Forgiveness is tough, usually needing a supernatural touch from God to ensure forgiveness is forever. It must be reciprocated, all the time. Both spouses must be willing to seek forgiveness before closing the issues and moving on. Just as love can last a lifetime, forgiveness needs to be forever. No looking back, bringing up old offenses, or holding grudges. Trust can be rebuilt when forgiveness is genuinely offered and accepted. The marriage can become stronger and spouses can feel closer than ever, when forgiveness is present in the relationship.


GIVE AND TAKE

When we marry, we are deeply in love, wishing only the best for our spouses, and expecting only the best from them. When we dated our spouses, we always put them first, giving 110% of ourselves, our time and attention. Their needs, wants and desires became ours. We thought alike, laughed over the same things, and enjoyed believing in one another. Every day was new and fresh with excitement of what it may hold. Selfishness was not in either spouses vocabulary, for each spouse did everything they could to please the other. After the wedding, it is easy to get comfortable and think about our relationship as being planted firmly and unshakable. All too soon, the other spouse is no longer top priority. Other things come into play, such as a new job, hobby or interest. One spouse slacks off with their own responsibilities leaving the other carrying more than half the weight in the relationship. If this is you, a check and balance system needs to be adopted and both spouses need to comply.

Sure there will be times when one spouse may only be able to give say 60%. This is where the other spouse will need to give 140% and actually make up for the lack of the other spouse. Maybe one spouse is having to change jobs and more hours at work are involved. The spouse with the same routine may need to pick up some of the slack of the other spouse for a time. Agreeing on how long and knowing what extra duties must rest on the spouse without the new demands is extremely important. This occasional overlap allows needs to still be met, responsibilities to be taken care of while peace and joy can remain between the couple. If either spouse kicks back for too long, burdens are felt by both spouses, patience falls and if the weight of one spouse is carried for too long, the one will crumble and animosity and grudges can form and be very hard to work through. Marriages are give and take relationships. Keeping things in balance long enough for couples to return to routines and deposit into their reserves once again. This deposit is what helps whether storms that would ordinarily shake a marriage to pieces. Giving 110% never sees gaps, it is always covering for bumps and being sure there is always enough to sustain the marriage.


POWER OF APOLOGY

The simple word is quite powerful actually. Saying your sorry covers a multitude of sins and can lead to immediate healing and restoration. What could take years to overcome, can happen in a matter of a few words, I'm truly sorry. These are words to live by, to love by and to die by.

When an apology is left unsaid, bitterness can easily grow in the heart leaving little room for love and kindness. Simply say your sorry. The event may not have been your fault, or it may have been. Either way, whatever touches our spouse touches us as well. If we are to maintain a healthy relationship with those we love, particularly our spouses, sorry should not only roll naturally out of our mouths, but immediately. In a marriage, a spouse normally does not want to hurt their beloved partner, but to help heal and restore them. Apologizing right away leaves little room for hurt to bury itself within the walls of the heart. Saying sorry cuts through the pain and opens wounds to heal while helping to avoid any festering. A soft answer does turn away wrath, and if troubled by anger, you are approached with a gentle, caring apology, it make sit very hard to remain hard and cold. Saying you're sorry, begins the necessary healing and forgiveness process, that makes good relationships better and great relationships outstanding.


BEING THANKFUL

Last, but not least, is thankfulness. Gratitude goes far and is remembered long after it is offered. There are so many things in life to be thankful for, and our spouse should be at the top of the list. When we are thankful, it gives us a sense of appreciation we can get from nothing else in life. Through good times and in bad times, thankfulness for having met our spouse, marrying and committing our lives to them deepens our walk with them. The world is viewed as a better place just because of thankfulness.

Think of the times you were thankful and those you were not. Were not the times of thankfulness far more fulfilling than those times we sulked in our self-pity? So why not choose to be thankful rather than ungrateful? Being thankful humbles and reminds us to look around and be content with such things that we have. Putting thankfulness at the top of our list not only makes us feel good, but it also makes your spouse feel that you are putting them first.. Which in return makes them want to put you above them. It is a wonderful, endless cycle to get caught up in. It seems when we are not thankful, everything in life looks bitter. Skies are darker, flowers lose their sweet scents, people irritate us more and life just seems depressing. Being thankful truly is a wonderful way of life, of looking at things and experiencing life's greatest rewards, no matter how small or how large. Being thankful is always worth it.