Posts tagged ‘Marriage’

Tuesday Progress

I feel like writing again today.

Chores for Monday were caught up.  Tuesday, I need to finish some irritating jobs (socks still in the living room unmatched after a week of cycling laundry), cleaning out the van (full of stuff I’ve been trying to return/drop-off for a week, items in the garage that need to be itemize before I give them away, vacuuming in the kids “territory” (has anyone learned to spell vacuum correctly yet every time, spell-check still hits me every time!)

Ran Podrunner IntervalWeek 3, day 3 today.  My right shin flared, but not a shin splint.  Both lower legs are strengthening, I felt that most today.  Light mist.  Good workout.  I don’t like how the series ends in a walk and then goes to a cool down on Week 3.  I usually add a 60 second run, then walk out the rest of the cool-down.

Will probably try to run extra days this week to prepare for the 5 minute run segments next week.  The thought of it intimidates me.  Only three days are required, with a recommended break day in between.  I just hate the off days!  Still mulling the healthiest way to handle off days.  May use the same music and do step or something like that.

The Love Dare book is going pretty well.  We both mutually agreed to not do one of the assignments.  We didn’t want to write down things we didn’t like about each other and burn it.  We are both at a place of taking negative thoughts to the cross as they occur, so making a list would be dredging up what had already been cast away.  If we have regular irritations, we try to deal with them, and already had an assignment on the top 3 last week…that was enough of that to work on for now to deal with more negative lists.  The positive directions impact us the most and are lending a freshness, the servanthood, beating one another to tasks, getting up from rest times to assist the other unexpectedly.  We’ve been beating one another to make up the bed all week.  It makes me smile.

I don’t mind doing it, but just the change of pace is sweet.

September 15, 2009 at 10:35 am 1 comment

Damage from the tornado…(photos)

I did suffer some damage from the tornado, though, okay… not as bad as others.  You gotta search for your sense of humor in times like these.  We are all grieving for those with severe losses.  I make no light thing of that.  I’m sleep deprived and shaken.

But, this girl needs some humor and here it is.  Forgive me the spoof here.

Last Monday, I had painted my finger and toenails red for Valentine’s Day.  I was ready for Valentine’s Day LAST week, so that’s what I did.  Obviously a God-thing.  Cause you just never know when a tornado is going to attack your pedicure.

He:  “Wow!  You’ve got your nails all red!  Pretty!” 

She:  “Yup, Valentine’s Day is almost here!” 

He:  “Two weeks?  They’ll probaby be worn off by then!” 

Me:  “I’d say so!  You’d better get started soon!” 

He:  “Alright?  Want to go on a date Friday night?

Me:  “Mmmm.  I’ll get back to you.”

We did!  I got the child-care arranged.  We went and had Chinese and a movie.  It was perfect for a cold night.  We needed that.

Now?

toenail.jpg

See there.  Ya just never know.

And yes….That.  Really.  Hurt!

And I was limping.

And sad.

Frustrated, even.

I superglued that baby per my mother’s instructions (we have that kind of special relationship…toenail care).  Then, I trimmed it WAY back, “So that won’t hang, baby girl, because if it does, it will SMART!”. 

It’s all whacked off.  Still painted red, and looking pitiful.

AND…my fingernail polish HAD to go yesterday, too!  My hands have been in dishwater for three days now.

toenail2.jpg

But, back to my toes.

See, it’s just not right.  Now they won’t match.  (It really hurts to look at that.  It even hurts me.  My stomach has this pitted feeling that I really don’t like just looking at that picture. )   

Tornados–they can sure mess up a pedicure.

February 7, 2008 at 3:19 pm 2 comments

Focus on the Family: Resources You Need

One of the difficulties I’ve had in keeping up with Focus on the Family programs is that the content wasn’t often suitable either for my “young listeners” or my time did not line up for listening when they aired on Christian radio.  I enjoy it, but just didn’t have time to plug it into my day. 

Driving home from the store, I just got to listen to the first broadcast I’ve heard in a while!  It had me tearful and I couldn’t get out of the van when I got home for fear of missing the end.  And, ya’ll…it’s 20 degrees here today.  

Pastor John MacArthur encouraged listeners to pray for our nation as he presented a sobering message which warned that God may abandon America to judgement.  Dr. Dobson inserted part of the way through is speech, taped portions of a program that was presented to high school studentsin Bolder last April (2207) in Bolder.  Teachers were given the opportunity to require students to attend this “Conference on World Affairs”  where speakers encourages high schoolers to experiment with all sorts of s*ex.  They presented s*ex as a grand shopping experience of trial and error, and stated that it was not necessarily something of commitment.  Just something you should enjoy and have fun with in a balanced and responsible way.

God deals one on one with us today in a way he did not in the Old Testament, but he also deals with us as a nation and societies.  Our societies follow a typical path of desentigration, as laid out in the New Testament, and in this speech. 

Moms, Dads:  We have a responsibility to make sure that our kids know truth, and that truth is not defined for them by some other value system.  We are to be peace-loving people.  But, Dr. Dobson made a statement that sticks with me today,  that said we have come to the end of the line when Godly wrath against sin can no longer be tolerated by a society.  Pastor MacArther said that in Canada, pastors from the pulpit are now limited by their government as to what can be preached against as sin from the pulpit.  

If you are interested in hearing the whole broadcast, it was well worth the time:

Their radio ministry shaped a large part of my teenage mentality toward family and ethics, and prepared me for what I’d encounter in college before I got there.  I’m so thankful for their frank and sensitive, but forthright discussions.  I’m thankful for the way they take a stand and help families.  Check them out!  Focus on the Family (www.fotf.org

As a note:  We also check all our family movies there at Plugged In.  The reviews are well balanced, informative, and very helpful in choosing what’s appropriate for your kids at different age levels.

January 15, 2008 at 9:14 am 6 comments

Proposal I Received by way of Comment

I got this comment over the holidays.  It did not appear to be spam:

 Complements of the season! How are you doing over there.Hope fine, my name is _________28 year old.From _____(foreign country) in _______ man, never married/Single, christian carefully read your personal data. Government Of (Country)  Agriculture Dept in Working Regularly attends church life time relationship very serious relationship im open mind big heart man.I Responable, care and protection,man. non smoker,non drinker. physically and you may be lacking i Trust and Belive. Resposble man. i heartily Relation Love Affection man.
If do contact me on this email:  (insert email) 

Ph: (phone number here)

Yours Sincerely.

From Post “The “Crush” and The Christian Marriage”

???

January 9, 2008 at 1:24 pm 2 comments

Work With the End in Mind

Christmas can be a draining time of year.  Expectations are high all around to “make the season bright” for everyone.  And I love to try.

There is little time for health or friends.   Though I set goals for the new year.

Much sickness.  We survive.  Treat.  Have meds ready and on time.  Humidifiers going, thanks to The Hub.

I love the season in general!  I enjoy making the holidays and blessing the fam.  And yes, I know I will miss it when these years are gone!  I know.

But, there are moments when I think:  “It would be nice to wake up with no lists flying through my head at 100 mph.  Nice to wake up to a non-hurricane-looking house.  Nice to not have paper clutter and “stuff” unmanaged and flowing out of every possible crevice due to joyful overload.  Nice if anyone walked throught and thought, ‘What could I put away as I go.’  Nice to have the carpets treated, closets and drawers cleaned, and “stuff” cleared and gone out of the way.  Nice to have a friend over!!!”

Every day.  All day.  Cards, gifts, lists, snacks, meals, laundry, clean-up, purging, going through, sifting ideas, more mess. 

Surely it will all get done in time!  Surely?

You know what I LOVE about the morning after Christmas?  All the 100 mph lists are gone!  That motivating “list” flying through my head at 100 mph for a month comes to a stop!  And then, I need a nice, long, winter’s nap with no expectations whatsoever for a while!  (Day after Christmas shopping?  You’ve GOT to be kidding me!  Maybe some year I’ll get that industrious.) 

Oh, lists.  Lists of expectations.  May I keep them a joy!!!!  THE GIFT.  Being a blessing. 

Today:  Shopping. Mailed Cards.  Kitchen.  Floors.  Garland.  Grocery:  lists for Gift in a Jar Treats.  Ornaments as gifts.

PS:  Hope you enjoy the music selections.  Thanks to South Breeze Farm for inspiration on sounds I like best–I found myself leaving their site minimized to keep listening I liked it so much!!!  If you need to stop the music, there is a pause button on the right hand sidebar.

December 12, 2007 at 9:40 am

Blogging Took Up All My Words…Apparently

Well, if you think the last couple day’s post have been a change of wind, they have!

I found that I was using so many of my “words” online that I really didn’t have much to say by the time The Hub got home.  My laughs were used up, and my words were gone, and he’s been so busy this fall, it didn’t matter.  It was helpful.  Now…it matters.  It’s nice to be missed, however, I have some restructuring to attend to.

Having comments turned off has made me appreciate the conversation of my family more.  I have a broad circle of friends here!  It’s great to know you can sustain me in tough seasons, and this summer and fall were hard in a number of ways.  We continue to face challenges even now. 

Tonight, I even watched a movie mid-week with The Fam:  The Santa Claus.  I laughed my head off.  Nope, I’d never seen it before.

We started some Christmas giving tonight…my daughter bought us all presents today at the school store with her character counts money!!!  She came home steathily, wrapped them like a pro, and delivered them tonight, not able to wait!  It was so sweet.  Now, that is holiday spirit…spontaneity and love and sacrifice.  What a sweetie!  I got a Mozart tape.  I will enjoy it.  She asked if I would share it with her.  🙂  That’s my girl.  The others got Christmas ornaments, very nice ones, outdated from card store editions.  We LOVED them. 

I bought some a Christmas card stamping kit today at Rite Aid.  The delightful little fun stamps turned out to be a bout 25 cents a piece, so I just couldn’t resist the urge to make a few cards, though I generally like store bought.  We got a card making kit last year, and Golilocks and I made a few during a snow day last winter.  Thought I’d see if I could churn a few more out.  It was fun…a change of pace.   They have 2-3 more if you want to look…the stamps were nice.  $10 for the kit.  I usually don’t like wood block kits, but as they are all Christmas and fit in one tidy box, I can store them away after the season with ease. 

I ordered a few gifts online today.  Lovin’ the online gifting. 

I am staying caught up…read through Ezekiel 25 today.  Man.  Weirdness there.  I don’t guess I’ve ever read all these prophets, much less straight through.  It’s having a bit impact on me.  Mainly, in terms of my sense of what is important to God:  the poor, the needy, the orphan, the widow, and keeping him first at heart.  Those issues are repeated by the prophets like a parents talking to a teenager:  over, and over, and over, and over.  I realize that I have not kept the things most important to the heart of God close enough to my heart.

Also emphasized is the discipline of God.  He said in the last chapter I read, “I had covered your sins, but your rebellion made me remember them all”.  Isn’t that how it works with most of us?  Character breeds trust–lack of character destroys it.

Also, the huge enemy of our souls:  pride.  Pride in beauty.  Pride in wealth.  Comfort.  Plenty.  Coveting other nations, other ways, other loves.  Not caring for our children enough, and their spiritual heritage.  Oh Lord…we have much work to do. 

Well, that’s all for today.

Thanks for your blog-ship!  (Comments are dis-abled intentionally for this post.  🙂  Blessings!!!)

November 26, 2007 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment

When the Fruit Isn’t At It’s Finest

The Quilt is being broken in today.  Boy Wonder just called home vomiting at school.  I spread it over the couch and he’s recovering there.  There’s just nothing like a cool quilt! 

I started feeling some better last night.  I think it was probably hay fever (allergies), rather than a cold.  I’m so glad.  I’ve had my share of the cold thing this month already!  I actually got through my closet last night most of the way.  I worked on it a bit more this morning.  Last night, I straightened, today, I’m purging.  I usually only buy clothes I intend to last for some time, even if I buy them used, so it’s hard to get rid of things that have some use left, but my clothes need room to breathe.  Time to narrow down to my most used.

I need to get the fridge cleaned out today, too.  Misty seemed to be quite in control of this task.  I think she should come give me a lesson ;).

I’m thinking on our sermon series this week a lot: the fruit of the Spirit.  I found a really cool evaluation list that challenged me yesterday.  I posted it here.  I’ll probably make a permanent copy to keep in my spiritual journal.  It’s very good.  You know, I’ve been a Christian since I was seven.  You’d think I’d be controlled by the Holy Spirit enough by now to be gentle and kind and sweet natured, but alas!  I am not.

This brings me to some personal evaluation and choices.  Being controlled by the Holy Spirit is both a result, and a choice.  I choose whether or not to put others first.  I choose whether or not to serve when I’m busy doing something else.  I choose whether or not to stop what I’m doing and respond with patience.  I have to make choices.  Apparently, my choices so far in some areas haven’t led to gentleness, patience, and joy…so, there is only one answer.  My choices have been wrong.

A hard reality.  Lord, keeping guiding me to make better choices, ones that honor and glorify you.  Not ones that promote productivity, efficiency, or individuality.  No…ones that promote servanthood, serving, and giving.  Preference to my family over myself.  Preference to modeling over teaching.  Preference to serving rather than “toughening”.  Remind me to serve.  It is my role. 

October 17, 2007 at 10:30 am 1 comment

The Trouble with Shakespeare

Yesterday, I told the lady at the checkout line who was so interested in my “romantic sonnets” book from V.S. that I was going to have my husband read me these poems. 

She kept reading. 

Her husband (presumably) said, “Well, I guess if he can’t think of anything to say, he can just read them to you.” 

I said, “That’s right!  That works!”

She continues to browse the book, and the line has mounted behind me in the store.  (Did I mention is was from V.S?  Stirs instant interest.)  

So, I was just now flipping through my book while picking up the house (not the house, but the things in the house), and I read this line, from Shakespeare: 

“And you in Grecian tires

are painted new”

 

Painted tires?  Are you serious?  What does that mean?  That line was meant to be read to my husband, I am certain!  No…the poem is certainly about a woman, and they had no “GoodYear” back then.  He is going to get a kick out of this, I can tell you!   (I Googled it…it was fun to learn about!  Check it out! 8. tires = attires, dress. The use of painted here and art in the line above perhaps suggest that some of the beauty was artificial.  (from this site.)

Anyway, the checker lady took forever to put the book down!  FOR-ever!  I kept talking to them to pass the time in good humor!  Finally, trying to get her to move on with my cart, I told her I’d let her know how things went!  Talk about pressure for my husband!   He knows the expectations.  He can meet the challenge, I have no doubt.

Isn’t it ironic that I just started calling him The Hub this week!  Goes with the whole “tire” thing, don’t you think?  LOL.

 

September 26, 2007 at 9:03 am Leave a comment

1AM is … Random

It’s 1AM.  I’m still up.  I’m not very sure why.  I was practicing some music after tending to the kids until 11.  Then…it was 12, and now, it is 1. 

I think it just crave some quiet “me” time. 

Soon, hubby will crawl out of his hole known as “sleep”, growl at me for staying up all hours of the night, on the internet, at that, and it will bust my precious and protected little happy bubble.

So, with that, I retire for the evening, with the taste of chocolate chip granola bars (2) satisfying a late night hunger.  Mmmm.  Brushing one’s teeth should never take away the taste of sweet granola and chocolate chip. 

And, while I’m here, with a few precious seconds to speak randomly (as I’m sure all of cyberspace is waiting up until 1AM to read), I was just wondering if anyone else finds it annoying to find people’s links to put them into posts–I’m struggling with the chore. 

I mean, not to complain…okay, I’m complaining, but there I am, flying along, typing in my stream of consciousness sort of way, and I have stop or go back to find a link,…it just totally spoils my spelling and grammar challenged perfectly poised and natural flow. 

Secondly, do some of these daily things feel like homework to anyone?  I love the community I see on others blogs by doing Monday Marriage and Tuesday Something T, and Wordless Wednesday and Thankful Thursday and Frisky Friday…oh, well, it’s probably not “frisky”, but anyway…(maybe it should be!) 

Actually, I’ve thought about a personal day-of-the-weekmemonic to help me with some disciplines internally too, for a season.  It might be fun.  But, I never want it to feel like…well, drudgery or homework.  You know Monday-Memorize, Tuesday– T_______,  Wednesday–Worship/Willing Heart, Thursday–Thankful, Friday– Forgive.

Okay, so I’m up at 1AM to write THAT.  So…Goodnight!

Oh!  Brainstorm (see, good things happen at 1AM)  Would you read below and consider picking up the “Pray for Carmen” button (copy and paste into your sidebar widget)?  Spinal infections just sound pretty horribly scarey to me.  Thanks!  Maggie 

How to get the button:  Insert this code into your blog’s html widget (for blogger users).  When people click it, it should take them to posts updating on her condition and prayer needs:

<p style=”text-align:center;”><a href=”https://5purposedriven.wordpress.com/tag/pray-for-carmen/”><img width=”207″ src=”https://5purposedriven.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/pray-for-carmen-copy2.jpg” alt=”pray-for-carmen-copy2.jpg” height=”337″ style=”width:92px;height:142px;” /></a></p>
STEAL THIS BUTTON!

July 3, 2007 at 12:55 am 1 comment

Just Right

This weekend, so awesome!  See for yourself: 

You may need to click the “play triangle” twice to play.   To view more smoothly:  minimize, turn down the sound, let the whole video run through one time….then come back and view after it’s loaded fully). 

Running time:  3:10 min.

February 19, 2007 at 9:01 am 4 comments

A Tribute

two-of-us-2006.jpg

Today is my man’s day.  His birthday.  I just want to take this opportunity to say that, in another eight and a half years, if I follow in his footsteps [ahem]…

…I’ll truly have my act together and know how to love and serve.  He’s one awesome man to share my life with.  He just gets better every day.

If you aren’t yet married, hold out for God’s plan.  If you are married, learn to serve and love selflessly–there is no greater life!  No greater additives.   He makes me happy. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LOVE!

All my heart,

~Maggie

PS:  My daughter (was 7)  took this pic of us over Spring Break on a weekend family outting. 

January 16, 2007 at 2:56 pm 6 comments

Should Christians Flirt?

An update to this post that deserves our attention is  a quote from  this site:

If you are genuinely interested in a relationship with your date then flirting with them will help them know this is the case. Don’t be shy of expressing your personality and your genuine interest in the person you are meeting with. Flirting is only wrong if you are simply playing with the emotions of the other person and are not intending to go on into a relationship with that person.”

So, there is a level of flirting that shows interest in a person for dating purposes that probably even bleeds into early starts to relationships thereafter.  We need to determine where that starts and when it should stop, and answer a few other questions of interest.   How do we pursue godly relationships?  Should we stop, or check ourselves, and under what circumstances? 

Note:  I continue to add to, and re-write this information based on feedback and resources that come to my attention.  If it’s of interest to you, check back for revisions and new information.  

I wrote a series of articles back in the fall on maturing Christian relationships.  Since, I frequently get hits from searches like “Should Christians flirt”?  I told my husband I finally wrote a web post in response.  He said, “A post?  Doesn’t that require like a one word answer?”  Well, not really.  There is a lot of discussion going on with the topic, especially with all the talk on the web downplaying anything less than outright nudity and lewdness.  I think it’s something we need to explore together.

Consider these opinions from on advice to give to a Christian friend who excessively flirst on a  Message Board.  For the sake of time, here are a few viewpoints I hear increasingly:  Evaluate your current opinion as you read, then we’ll discuss.  I’m not a member of that board and did not feel inclinded to join, but I will post my response here.  Here are a few of the comments of note:

  • “I’ve forgotten the chapter in the bible that says flirting is wrong.  Can you refresh my memory?  Thanks!”
  • “From my point of view flirting means making others feel good about themselves.  Its not always a bad thing to do that. is it? Wink
  • “the bible is very clear on this matter; flee all appearances of evil – and that is what you should tell him and you also – run for your life.”
  • “So wats da BIG deal if your friend flirts, not like he/she kills Huh
  • “i believe flirting without shagging is no sin Wink Wink
  • “maybe the poster needs to use a different word from flirt because as far as i am concerned, Nothing is wrong with flirting. A serious  christian can flirt, its got nothing to do with faith.  its all about making people feel better about themselves.  A lot of people suffer inferiority complex as it were and flirting with them helps boost their ego.  its either you are too spiritual or just plain jealous because yuo don’t know how to flirt. Its not easy sha!”

So…we have some questions to answer that I think deserve attention.  If there answer is a clear “No”, there would not be so much confusion.  If the word of God is meant to guide us on important things, surely there IS an answer to help us in relationships. 

First, I’m going to list some scriptures that come to mind to help reset our thinking, then we’ll go back to some of these ideas.   Sound good?  Okay, let’s get started.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY, IF ANYTHING? 

 

  1.  Proverbs 1:4

4 [the wise Proverbs of Solomon to his son, written] for giving prudence to the simple, for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young-

 5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
       and let the discerning get guidance-

 6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
       the sayings and riddles of the wise.

 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
       but fools [a] despise wisdom and discipline.

       knowledge and discretion to the young-

What does “prudence” mean?  Just from the context here, it is someone who seeks to be led by wisdom, knowledge, instruction, and discipline, as opposed to the fool.

————————————–*

  2.  Proverbs 8:5

You who are simple, gain prudence;
       you who are foolish, gain understanding.

I  learn here that even the simple minded person can be “prudent”.  Even those who’ve acted foolishly in the past can gain understanding to benefit themselves and others.

————————————–*

3.  Proverbs 8:12
“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.

SO, FROM THESE VERSES, WHAT DO CAN WE LEARN?  WHAT QUESTIONS DO WE STILL HAVE?

  1. Prudence and wisdom and learning and discipline go together.  They are highly valued.  They keep us safe.  They promote integrity of heart and character.
  2. Can a “prudent” person be a “fun-loving” person?  Can a prudent person give a compliment, or make someone smile, or help someone’s self esteem?  We’ll look at that as we go along.

Let’s consider just a couple New Testamant verses first, just to try to get ourselves some foundation of thinking to build on.

Going to BibleGateway.com and searching under the keyword “words” (you’ll need to select “show all” and even go to the small pg 2 at the bottom to see New Testament verses).  There is much to read and absorb.  Not all of what we are considering is “words”, but I think it’s a great starting point we can move from.  We have to start somewhere.

For now, let’s look at a few I will choose to start with and see if we begin to build a foundation for ourselves on this thing.  Ready to dig?  It may seem to take a while to get to the meat, but we need secure pegs to hang other information on.  Buckle up for a wild ride.  There are going to be some bumps ahead. 

BUILDING OUR FOUNDATION:

Jeremiah 15:19
Therefore this is what the LORD says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.

Well, that’s no good.  We ask, what in the world does that say about flirting?  Let’s get some pegs going.  We do learn a few things.   God uses repentant people, not stubborn people.  (We need to be willing to learn).  Words ARE powerful, contrary to much popular “emergent” opinion.  (Consider:  By God’s spoken word, the world came into being and was created.  Words have power, to build up, or to tear down.  Jesus himself was called “The word of God made flesh” [book of John].) 

In this verse , God is telling the prophet Jeremiah that he could be a spokesmen for God, but under under some conditions: walking in a humble repentance regarding his own sin, saying “worthy and not worthless words”, and stubborness (when he says that people may turn to him (agree with him), but that he was not to “turn to them” [agree with them]). 

How do we to communicate with people well without caving?  One commentor on the message board excused flirting if it was done to bring someone to Christ.  Hmmm.  Making people feel good is not a bad thing…we want to gain friendships and respect.  Being kind and a blessing to people ig good–also what God calls us to.   We need to learn some “fine lines” involved to stay on target.

Sound too serious for such a fun loving topic?  Keep reading a bit further before you decide, and know this:  the word of God is a puzzle, revealing itself to those willing to search for hidden things.   We want to be “seekers of truth”.   Come on, Seeker, let’s keep moving.

BUILDING ON A STRONG FOUNDATION, Part 2

Matthew 7:26
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

Luke 6:49
But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Ouch.  Okay, so what do we learn there?  I don’t know about yoy, but, I know that I want to build the “house” of my life  on the solid rock of truth, not on ideas that fall and trap me the minute I relax or stop looking, having potential to totally destroy me, and others around me “the moment the TORRENT strikes that house”.  

Is this that kind of issue?  Listen, anything that compromises truth in our lives and leads us to believe lies HAS that kind of destructive potential.  I hate to be the first to tell you if I am, but, then again, that’s WHY I’m taking time to explore this baby with such dedicated purpose.  I hope you are convinced to continue.  I know I am.

Let’s see more:

 Matthew 24:35
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Words that agree with Jesus’s words/ideas/truth have staying power.  Everything else will fade away and be uselessI don’t know about you, but I want my words, my impact on the world to last.  I don’t want my impact, my “encouragment” and all my well-meaning plans to be “disposable”.  I want the staying power of steal, iron, diamonds…not plastic, paper, and other perishables.  I want to give the permanent.  My life IS permanent as a Christian, and I want my “fruit” (described in Galations) to be lasting.  I want to give back to the Lord something for all he’s done for me, giving his very life.

So…here’s another one I stumbled on: 

Luke 1:20
And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”

In Bible times, often the gift of speech was taken away for a time.  Is it possible that our words (and our doubt) can get in the way of God’s purposes?  Is it possible that he disciplines us, in some way, if not the loss of voice, for inappropriately expressing ourselves?  It seems so. He wants us to learn that much. 

So, What About Jesus’s Words?  How did he set standards for speech?

John 6:63
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.

 John 14:24
He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Jesus’s words were not just passing words.  They are “spirit”, and they are “life”.  His words had great power.  His words establish truth for us.  His words bring health, healing, cleansing, and direction.  His words are not his own, but what he hears from the Father.  His speech is submissive (he’s not just saying anything that comes to mind, but saying what is in alignment with the Father’s purposes, and with Truth).  He gives thought to what he says.  It was important.  Not just who he was, but what he said.  He was what he said.  That reminds me of this verse:

Luke 6:45
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Are words just “words”?  Or do they express what is hidden in the heart of a person?  This verse says, “Yes”.  Words show what we value, what our motives are, and where we struggle.  They show if we are genuine, or if we are insincere.  They show if we have needs, and they show if we have wisdom.  Words are a “fruit” of our maturity.  Communication is important…the condition of our hearts is even more important. 

WORDS ALONE? 

1 Corinthians 2:4
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,

This says that what most affects people at times is NOT our words, not our delivery or style (indirect communication or even nonverbal communication).  These are important to learn skill and discipline in, but my point here is:  people can be touched deeply and in a lasting way by the Holy Spirit flowing through us, having little to do with what we say.  Now, the Holy Spirit is not going to flow through us if our hearts are not pure.  People respond safely to integrity.  So, the commentor above said that we are needing to build up the self esteem of others.  How can we do that best according to truths found in this verse?  Align ourselves with God’s purposes, plans, and heart for that person, not with our own needs, or our own plan to “help”.  Learning to hear God and respond to him with his purposes and plans is our priority, then, not necessarily with a SuperMan mission to just deliver every person we come into contact with who we think could use a boost.   God will direct us. 

Sound too heavy a purpose and calling?  Maybe.  So, we can’t have any fun?  Well, that’s a good question I guess we should move toward next!  Let’s keep going.  It’s so awesome to be able to learn principles like this…to have access to the word of God and desire to dig.  I talk people who have no access to the Bible, no one leading them, have never read this stuff or thought it through.  I cannot imagine.  And, we have the world’s greatest gift, and we’d rather listen to Oprah than dig, as God values in us.  Go figure.

Another Kind of Speech Altogether:

I Cor. 2: 13  This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

Whoa.  There is so much in there.  Read that several times and let it soak in. 

So, we gain a couple significant things to us here in our searching:  1.  There is human wisdom that sounds wise, but is not necessarily wisdom!  OUCH.  Get a load of that.  KEY to learning spiritual things.  2.  The Spirit teaches us spiritual truths in spiritual words.  a.  We are not left without tools.  (As a little aside here:  I got a very handy new sweeper for the floors.  My husband was very impressed saying, “To get a man to clean house, bring on the good power tools!”  There are your “power tools!”). 

POTENTIAL OF WORDS:

Ephesians 5:6
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

That sounds harsh.  So, break it down:  1.  People CAN deceive us (read, trick us) with “empty words”(meaning?  I’ll say, things that sound good, make us feel good, and tickle our ears, but have little real back-bone.)  2.  God is not happy {see: “wrath comes on”) people who spill empty words.  He wants our speech to have substance.   Want to tell me again that careless words are just something the hearer needs to learn to “flush” out?  Want to read that again?  The speeker has a responsiblity.  Enough said.

What CAN We Say, Then? 

1 Peter 4:11
If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Wow.  I’ve heard people say, “Well, how in the world can I know what God says?  I’m supposed to be praying and hearing him every minute?  Right.  I’ve never even been sure I’ve heard him speak at ALL.” 

That’s a lot of our problem, I’d say.  We’ve not learned to pray and hear God.  So, there are greater issues at state really than what seems at surface.  That may take a whole ‘nother post, but let me just say that reading the word and learning to know God will help you “hear” him….know his truth, and what he’d have you do and say in a given situation.  If time is not being spent reading, in church, and knowing the word, chances are even those who think they are hearing from God will have a hard time truly distinguishing if it’s him or not.  And even if they do, they will doubt for lack of a good center on truth to measure it and confirm it so that they will act on it…all principles from the word of God, not things I’m guessing or making up.  Just not a lot of page space to adequately support that here.  There are lots of resources available to help those who truly want to hear God.  Just know that God promises many, many times over in his word that those who seek God find him “if they seek with all their heart [soul, mind, and strength]”.  It does take devotion.  He does ask that.  It is that intense.  But, it’s a riot, and it IS the most fun you’ll ever have, because it lasts, and it means something.   

What Did Jesus Base Interactions On? 

Jesus valued marriage and family.  He would not say something intntionally to cause married people to stumble.  Also, Jesus only said things to give glory to the Father, not himself.  Jesus was a purpose not to use people, but to treat them with respect and honor.  He took people seriously because he wanted to be taken seriously…he wanted his message to have the weight it needed.

What the World Values in Speech 

We love to be masters of words, benders of ears, savvy, smooth talking people, moving ourselves in and out of a crowd.  That is not the type of person I see indicated in Jesus.  Now, Jesus went to parties, enjoyed people, and “hung out” with the lowly.  I’ve seen modern books that fictionalize those accounts of Jesus, making him “the life of the party, known for have a hearty good time.”  This has affected the Christian mindset of who Jesus was over time, without necessarily a lot of scripural base.  Now, I believe Jesus did know how to use a sense of humor and spin words to reach people.  Yet, he did not toy with people.  He was trust-worthy entirely.  He made his intent, purposes, and message clear. 

Jesus did not want his intentions mis-represented or misunderstood: healing people and bringing life, deliverance, breaking the bonds of Satan.  Wow!  Don’t you KNOW he WAS having the time of his life!!!! Scripture shows Jesus committed to family, enjoying children  with humility and gentleness, hanging out with the downtrodden, broken, sinful, and confused.  THOSE were his passion.  But, he expected people to move along with him.  He didn’t stay there.  Anywhere.  He kept moving on with the purpose before him.  His heart was free to serve and minister.  Not attached to people overly, not overlooking people in the least.  What we do not see is a Jesus in scripture going around with the one committed purpose of raising people’s self esteem, causing them to smile, or seeing them “light up” with the flattery of his words.  No!  Jesus brought truth to matters–he was called, “the light of the world”!  Light and truth is not a feeling, emotion, or current that leaves the minute a person leaves the room.   

Jesus wasn’t walking around with a bit of influence, yet “doing whatever came naturally” just because he happened to be human and God.  We get confused and forget all about”die to self to follow Christ” and we want the “Jesus came to bring us life and blessing”.  We get the living through some dying.  We don’t always get to do things the way we want to, or the way that “looks” right. 

“There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end, it leads to death.”  (Proverbs 16:25).   

I don’t know about you, but I’d like avoid “the way that looks right, but leads to death” at ALL costs!  Yet, it’s going to “seem right” to me!  Whoa!  Could lifestyles and choices that seem to make sense “lead to death”?  How?  What kind of death?  The same kind Eve suffered…the kind that left her “living”, but separated from the intimacy with God she once knew.  If “life” comes from knowing Christ, as the Scriptures says…I don’t want anything in the way of my experiencing real life!  I want to know Him! 

Consider this:  there is a worldly counterfeit for every heavenly thing.  The word tells us that the earthly is just a shadow of the real…the spiritual.  Have you ever thought about that?  Ever wonder why some things make you feel great for the moment, but afterwards, you’re filled with guilt, doubt, or shame?  That’s why.  If it’s eternal, of God, it will line up with the word of God, with what the church teaches, with what the Holy Spirit testifies to within you, and it will continue to fill you.  If not, it’s like pouring water over sand and expecting it to hold.  It just doesn’t.  I don’t know about you, but I sure hope the Christian life is more than pouring water in sand.  I am pouring my life, attention, and effort into it.   I want to “prove it” to the world.  I want to know and experience that deep and abiding satisfaction and joy the scriptures talk about.

If people are walking around looking gloomy and down…it’s going to take a lot more than my compliment or flirtation to bring them up, and it’s sure going to take a lot more than that to “stay”…in fact, anything else could just destroy them and may take me down in the process.

Do you believe in the “holding power”, in the “filling” of the word of God and following truth?  I am.  I’m staking my whole llife on it.  I want to prove Christ.  Or disprove Him…but it’s all or nothing or the experiment is dead and tainted.   I don’t want to just tell you or live out “what seems to be okay by me!”  There is too much at state.  Seriously, there is a comment on that board which says it’s  “okay to flirt, just as long as you aren’t shagging”?   Anyone else feeling naseated but the blunt truth of what our lives can say?   So…it’s okay to play with fire, just as long as we don’t get burned? 

No personal offense to anybody who is working through things the best they can as this person on the message board obviously is.  I would never want todo that.  I’m confronting a broadscale mentality.  If you don’t realize it’s out there, you don’t know what lies MANY people are fighting.

It’s not about what we can get away with without “sinning”.  It’s not about making ourselves or anybody else feel good.  It’s not about finding the word “flirt” in the Bible.  It’s about knowing Jesus, and his heart, and knowing him well enough to find the guidance and direction we need…it IS about searching and reading what is there, and learning.  Hopefully this particular blog entry, as feable as it is, can help you learn to do that…help you learn to find wisdom without having it all in bold print and caps, “DO NOT _____”. 

That’s what the law was about…a lot of rules to try to follow, and we never could.  That is why God sent Jesus, to free us from the law.  The way to freedom is NOT in doing all we can get away with…it’s in obedience.  We all hate that word–but in obedience comes true freedom and joy Christ promised.

God has a purpose and plan for you and your eternal influence with other people.  It’s okay to be light hearted and enjoy people. Yet, we are not to mess around with hearts, attention, affections, and focus.  We never know how vulnerable a person has become deep within.  Perhaps this is why we see mighty church leaders falling (as also referred to on the message board above).  They are vulnerable.  We all are.  We treat one another with respect due them.  Those above us in the Lord EVEN MORE SO…not less, assuming they are superhuman. 

Don’t feel like just because some mighty men and women of God are falling that there is no help or hope for you!  Don’t use a poor example to normalize sin just because it’s not as bad as so-in-so did.  Don’t assume that because they were not strong enough, there is no way you’ll ever be, so you may as well just stop fighting and do it.  No!  In every war, people fall, the strong and the weak…but we keep fighting because the war is worthy, and the cause is compelling. 

Our presentation is important.  Our words are important.  Where we get our “filling” deep inside is important.  Knowing human-ness is important (even Christians…even strong Christians).  Thinking about it, talking about it, seeking the word of God to sharpen ourselves so that we stand close to God’s “center” like Jeremiahs, unmoving…unswayed by public opinion…is important. 

I’ve heard it said, “I/She/He — just ‘playful’.  We are like brother-sister.  Oh, it’s not ‘that’!  Lighten up!  You know me!  It’s just to release tension.  We’re just playing around.  Just having fun.  Ligtening things up a bit.  Being silly.  Everyone ‘knows’ us.  Everyone just wants to have a good time.  I/he/she is the life of the party.   No one takes it seriously.” 

NOW, this article was linked to  here, and strategicalliance had this important twist to add.  I should have thought to add this slant myself which rounds out the thought nicely:

Should Christians Flirt? Yeah I will flirt with my wife… – but outside of marriage – It is not a wise thing to do. When I flirt in the context of marriage it strengthens my bond with my wife and since God co-signs on marriages (between a man and woman) He will not be displeased to see a couple grow stronger together according to his will (concerning marriage). Should we flirt outside of marriage? by the very definition of flirting- no but man does what is right according to his own eyes and not God’s eyes. Should Christian single flirt? Flirting is defined as to court triflingly or act amorously without serious intentions.

The outcome of flirting is not always full-filling. Trifling is defined as idle or frivolous conduct. Many who are seeking a spouse are not looking for idle or frivolous conduct, they are looking for serious relationships and prayerfully an equally yoked one. One of the benefits of being equally yoked is that the husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband (1 Corinthians 7:3.) be it the marriage bed or any other duty rather but if you are not on one accord as far as faith is concerned we are instructed already:

But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. (1 Corinthians 7:12)

And a woman who has an unbelieving husband and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. (1 Corinthians 7:13)

A man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord – meaning that whether he believes it or not – he is actively seeking his wife and the end result with that is favor with God. Because Sin distorts we need to stay in prayer. Living Holy is a believer’s protection and God does want the best for us in this life and the next.

 

Well said!  I had mainly inappropriate flirtation in mind…and this commentor hits the nail on the head squarely in regard to appropriate use.  I think there is a level of “courting” that goes on in ANY relationship building…but it is given a different name…hospitality and grace.  It doesn’t trick, connive, or try to meet it’s own needs with the intent the article for singles gave at the start of this entry. 

Think about this for a minute:  the apostle Paul tenaciously said, “Copy me, model me, follow my life”.  Can we act flippantly, entrusting those around us to model us, knowing they will be okay if they do?  Listen, I’m not judging.  I’ve not always done the job I should have with the influence I’ve had.   I would love to think I will never, ever again even imagine  that I had a part in someone else’s marriage falling, faltering, or flopping.  NEVER.  Yet, there will probably always be that war.  Did I care enough?  Was I a good example?  Talk about gravity!  We are supposed to be considering the weak among us as we make decisions, not flaunting any freedom we feel we may have.  Do we?  

You’ve read about “emotional affairs”…how much do you know about relational pacing–maturing relationships? Those happen when things are developed long before “affair” words need to even be coming up in our vocalarly.  Affairs or seldom the plan.  I know few people who wake up and say, “I’m married, but it sounds like a great idea to have an affair today.”  No.  It starts with the subtle.  The playing around.  The “flirting with ideas”, “playful enjoyment”…and perhaps not experiencing that as much at home BECAUSE it’s not as needful in mature relationships…they’ve moved on to the more valued traits of maturity, solidarity, helps.  But, few things compete with the emotional of early relationship hormones that inevitably occur with enough prodding.  People have different relational styles to get to know, so don’t go on a witch hunt, please!  Learn to deal with people’s styles.  At the same time, be aware.  “We do not want you to be ignorant” scripture says.  That’s what this is about. 

As adults, we don’t necessarily just level out into some “safe zone”.  Growing in wisdom takes a life-time.  You are never immune to being taken back to feelings that are very pleasurable and enjoyable…enjoyable enough that you want to repeat them, a few times…and enjoyable enough that you may lose all things most important to you.  Positive affirmation can be like a drug for many people.  You can feed the habit without realizing you are feeding a deliberate relationship.   But, the Holy Spirit will show you.  And if He does, be ready to break free no matter what the cost.  If you want to avoid that possibility, be very careful and deliberate and focused and secure in these principles of what God wants from you, and hold fast to those.

For those interested, here are a few more scriptures to meditate on:

Psalm 119:113
[ s Samekh ] I hate double-minded men, but I love your law.

Double-minded?  Someone who says one thing and really doesn’t mean it seriously, or not knowing for sure the intent of a person.  King David had had his fill of such people.  He wanted the sincere person whose word he could know, understand, and trust.  No games or confusion. 

1 Peter 4:7
The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

“Focused” enough to pray?  Yes.   Why?  The end of times is coming.  What are we to be about in this “short time” then?

 Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

James 4:8
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Philippians 3:8
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

Relationships are the hardest work there is.  Can a girl, or a guy, be light and silly and playful, AND be deep and authentic and minister, getting into people’s heart of hearts in God-honoring ways?  Ways that bring glory to him, and not us

We CAN affair-proofing marriages, guard minds from inappropriate paths, watch the way we interact with other people, and set personal standards that set us apart as one who honors boundaries…these are the marks of a maturing Christian. 

If we are thriving or depending on anything other than the grace, joy, and hope of God to get us through our days (especially in regard to rehearsing things)…we need to take some time to examine .  We sing,

All of you is/more than enough for/all of me/for every thirst and/every need/you satisfy me/with your love/and all I have in you/is more than enough“.  

Prove it to me.  Get your joy in the ways God intended.  Prove to me that’s where you are most filled…THAT is what brightens your face and puts the light in your eyes.

Author notes: I edited this several times as a result of feedback.  I value more of it.  But, even not being a skilled writer, the world deserves to know this is something to work through, and that there are those learning alone with you.  This article will likely be put to print, so I’ll add a tag I don’t normally consider:  All Rights Reserved. 

Other Useful Links:

Got Quetions?  What Does the Bible Say About Flirting?

Other Recommended ResourcesThe Ten Commandments of Dating by Young & Adams.


Related Topics:

 

What is an appropriate level of intimacy before marriage?

 

What does the Bible say about dating / courting?

 

How young is too young to be in a romantic relationship?

 

Are we supposed to be actively looking for a spouse, or wait for God to bring a spouse to us?

 

How will I know when I have found the perfect spouse for me?


Questions about Relationships

Related ARTICLES by this blog author:

September 26, 2006 at 11:10 am 16 comments

Sunday Review

This weekend has been the awesome-est.  (Yup…that’s now a word, but you have to hyphenate or the spelling doesn’t work.)

My husband came home Thursday afternoon, walked through the house, charged me like a bull, threw me high up over his shoulder and ran me kicking and laughing all the way to the bedroom.  He threw me on the bed, still laughing, and said, “What do you say if (at this point he already had my full attention…usually the kids get the “plane rides”), I took off work tomorrow at noon–which I have already done (Wha?), and whisked you away to ******ville for the night (Mmmm.)…and we spent the night at a hotel (Oooh), and shopped some Friday-Saturday playing on some keyboards at that big music store down there”? (

What has gotten into this man o’ mine?  He’s usually great…but that’s outright night in shining armor full chivalry! 

“Um…are you okay?  I mean…what brought this on?  Never mind…yes!

So…that is how it played out.  We got childcare for two days, and even got some shopping done for two of the kids up-coming birthdays, he helped me pick out their Halloween costumes (and stomached the cost…the worst part)–so fun (Luke SkiWalker, Darth Vader, and Princess Leah).  We shopped for a wedding gift I needed, and ate out three meals with NO FRIES!  Aaaaah. 

We told funny stories about the kids and laughed…sometimes it’s easier to enjoy them when you get a break from them long enough to recount the darling moments! 

I have tingling blood today.  I took a Sunday afternoon nap, and fixed myself the perfect cup of coffee…loads of hazelnut creamer and sugar.  Aaaaah. To be refreshed and in love and get a few things done “team play”.  I highly recommend it when possible.

So, off to tomorrow’s lesson plans on the back porch in the Fall air with my coffee and a pencil. 

Lord…thank you.  You know what I need.  You’re so awesome to me.  I just want to get misty-eyed about it for a moment and say, “Thanks”.  Refresh those I know and those who read this blog as well in your own special way.  I look forward to hearing reports of that in coming days and weeks and months.  Bless your people with your love and care.

~Maggie

September 17, 2006 at 2:57 pm 2 comments

How LOW can you GO?!

rollerlimbo.jpgI used to be a rollar skate-guard.  Each night, we did the “limbo”…on wheels!  

Quite an art form.  The “best of the best” in our circles had learned how to lean their backs way back, stick one foot out to the side…wiggling the one wheel quickly–in and out..in and out…fast enough to keep them moving, but not fast enough to knock them off their feet!  I was always facinated.   Did they “practice” at home?  The participants were ages 7-75!  My!  How they just loved a minute to “do something different”, “silly”, laughing and smiling, cheering.  

You can’t “limbo” with a frown!

And neither can my man.  Only, he’s not on wheels.  He came home “limbo-ing” yesterday, again,and smiling.  But he had no reason to smile.  On top of missing key staff he’s needed the last few weeks, computers were down all last week calling for manual transmission of information he needed, “quick-like”.  This week they are rebooting the system, and even much of the manual they had available last week was missing or lost.  As to interview-ees, he tried to schedule a trial day with one of our “picks”…at which time said she’d decided to have her name taken off the list.

[pause for a moment of reflective dramatic silence] 

“Off the list?  What?!  She can’t DO that!” 

Well, I know she CAN…I know we are to ‘wait’…but HOW LONG?  Poor guy!  I thought he’d go in today, have a fresh name! BAM!  Perfect fit.

I hurt for my man.  God reminds me of the seasons he has “hurt” for me.  Three series of “9 months”.  The healthy, happy person who appears to have the “lighter load”.   I am now “the happy and healthy” of the two of us, but I keep wanting to cry for him…I can’t!  Somebody has to be the shield bearer, faith instiller, cheerleader.  The “Ben and Hur” (that’s not the same as Ben and Jerry’s…though we’ve gone three three containers of ice cream this week alone) holding up his tired arms while the battle rages.

So…Tuesday.  Maybe Tuesday is the day?  Habakkuk 2:3“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

Though, it “lingers”…wait for it?  Even though I have to keep waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting…the word is “wait”?  Yes.  Man…we like to fidget and dance– like a four year old holding his bladder, don’t we?  Easier for me.  I’m not “in the fire”.  Has anybody ever tell you to “wait for God’s time”?  “GOD’S TIME IS NOW!” with clenched teeth and Larry Boy “angry eyebrows”.

I decided last night, upon hearing his news, that I’d try to look at my pantry and cook him something inspiritational for him.  We had Mexican.  (I accidentally defrosted pre-cooked sausage instead of beef just as he walked in the door and said, “Mmmm, sausage smells good!” “Um, not so much, wrong food.  Get out of my kitchen.” No the environment I had planned. (Sausage-egg breakfast casserole is in our future.)

I found the beef and made my first “Mexican” cornbread…a hit!  Thank God the dried up buttermilk powder I had to microwave in boiling water to “de-clump” still did the job.

I’ve taken him out on a date.  I’ve prayed.  I’ve fasted  (two days in a row last week from morning until supper time…which I don’t mind telling online friends just because hardly anyone ever does it and it’s such a blessing in my life when I need either revelation, peace, or an answer.  Look into it.  Two days sounds like a lot?  I went to college with some Ramadan observing friends who fasted until sunset every day for…forever it seemed, going to class, studying, carrying tons of books, walking miles across classes, carrying on about their day…no word about it!  No complaints…no lusting over my peanut butter and crackers I’d eat in class–except that one guy who said, “Man, that looks good”.  Shoot.  I sit at home and conserve energy when fasting is “convenient” for me.  How lame.  Well no, obedience is never lame — God would rather have obedience than sacrifice, right?) 

Still…I’m “fasted” out!  I can’t pray about it any more.  I can’t fast about it anymore.  He said wait.  There is nothing to do but wait.  No answers.  A fresh revelation God will just have to give us in his time. 

———————————————–* 

That reminds me to something I heard yesterday that struck a fresh chord with me.  I was listening to John Piper through a link I found on a worship leader’s site.  It was on “post modern” culture–how it affects Christians-Christianity-culture-media–“who we are” in the “West”.  (I’ve heard that term “post-modern”, –I just hate labels in general!  I am too complex for a label…right?) 

Well, culture is probably more an influencethan a label.  Just like Gen Xers are so, even if they don’t know what it means.  We really don’t know enough about what is shaping us.  I assumed it didn’t affect me.  

What is post modernism?  Two characteristics according to Piper are:

  1. Reliance on reason apart from revelation
  2. Rejection of Authority in favor of the autonomous self  

The kicker: “Where do we go after ‘post moderism’?”.  He says:  people’s human reasonings and rationals fail, not being based on “the truth” to begin with.  They get disappointed, disillusioned, and see that “fact” and reasoning bring no real help to the world’s biggest problems and needs.  Science doesn’t save.  Their answers don’t work. 

Where do they turn?  Asidefrom reasoning (#1 tenant), leaving only #2 (autonomous self–taking care of me).  Self.  Pyschology.  Spiritism.  Mysticism.  “What I think”.  “What I feel”. “What makes me feel better”. “Glad that ‘works for you’, but it just doesn’t for me.  Period.”  

“Spirituality” will not be necessarily based on Christianity or God.  It is a turning from all “propositional truth”…no books, no commitments, not even “science”…just a therapeutic, psychological, self-centered approach to life. 

Anybody remember the dwarfs in Chronicles of Narnia (final book)?  A monkey tricks them into believing a donkey is God by dressing him up in the moonlight in a found lion’s skin, getting all the animals to obey him–himself as the mouthpeice.  The thing is:  when the deception is revealed, the dwarfs are so tired, disappointed, disillioned, embarrassed for being tricked, that they refuse to follow ANY form of “Aslan”…even the REAL one.  They decide…to be a god unto themselves.  No leader at all.  They create havoc/division between true good and evil becaues they don’t side with either.  They just shoot arrows, not caring where they land.  The war is just arrows flying.  No one knows where they are coming from or who the real enemy is.

Makes me want God’s fresh “revelation” on the hard matters of life to keep me inspired!  My faith alone, in and of itself, is not strong enough.  I need truths like: “those who hope in the Lord will never be disappointed”.  “you will lack for no good thing”. “My God will supply all your needs according to his great riches in glory.”   

It compels me to pray “hard prayers” like:  

Lord Jesus, I know this is where you want me to go, but I’m dead tired, I’m fighting it, and I don’t want to!  Inspire me if I go.  Encourage me! Push me!  Press me!  Lead me!  Go with me!  Protect me!  Use me anyway!  Make it SO worth it!

He will.  

This is really nothing new when I think further.  Many seem to get great joy studying culture…and that’s all fine and good and can be helpful.  But, does it really catch us by surprise?  Apart from Christ, degrading sensitivity toward sin, increasing ungodliness and self centeredness. 

Beth Moore had us all pegged years ago.  Apart from truth–God’s one and only truth, we are so going to lose our sanity, she basically says.  And, I’ve been there!  Had things:  so “figured out” that I had nothing “figured out”.  That is was walking in just enough disobedience and self reliance that I tripped right over myself!  Not fun.  In that place, it IS very easy to get disillusioned and blame God for misleading us.  Rational and reasoning apart from revelation–“worldy wisdom”, figuring things out on our own apart from God’s leading.  THAT leads to death as opposed to “godly wisdom” which leads to life. (James 3:15-17) 

Watchmen Nee in Spiritual Authority gave us a heads up.  He should know.  In 1952, Nee was imprisoned by the Chinese government for his faith (and establishment of churches…one per each town, city, or municipality to keep from divisions.) He remained in prison until his death twenty years later.  (You can read the first chapter of Spiritual Authority here.  It gives the general gist of the whole book.  Awesomelly [I know, that is not a word] challenging.  His most well known work, The Normal Christian Life is now also an E-book available free of cost at CCEL.  I’ve not read it, but may.  His works are usually translated teachings by students.  Spiritual Authority was so deep, it took me several years to get through.  

If I ever give God a chance to be faithful according to HIS time table, then he has never “failed me”.  Many times I limited Him, looked to my own reasoning, refused to wait, did not obey fully, did not listen…and I failed Him.  Now, how can we blame HIM for that?  (Kicking self.)  As a generation, that is exactly what we are doing.   

How do you see modern/post modernism played out?  Piper says it infects all of media, movies, and culture.  He says because we do not know it is there, we are affected-infected.  Link to the videos for the conference he is putting together based on David Well’s book, Above All Earthly Powers.  I’ll probably post summaries of the conference speaker interviews as I listen to them…I’m sure that most don’t have th etimei to listen.  John Piper always challenges and inspires me.  I agree with  iJournal‘s assessment of him:

john-piper.jpgJohn Piper is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. He has quickly risen to the top of my list of church leaders known for their sound theology, practical application and incredible knowledge of Scripture.

So…  “How LOW can you go?”  Are we prepared to fight a “post modern”/”culture-influence”, a “self- centered” response to the pressure points of life?  Do we seek God’s “fresh revelation” to see us through (his revealed truth as applied to the matters closest to our hearts)? 

How do you find “revealed truth”?  What does that word mean to you?  Are you committed as if your life depended on it?  Does it?

—————–* 

By the way, babe…you win the limbo contest this summer!  And you have some fierce competition out there!  Hang in there…and keep doing the limbo with that winning smile. 

August 15, 2006 at 9:47 am 2 comments

How Do I Forgive a Crush on My Husband/Wife? (Boundaries to “Affair Proof” Your Marriage)

Question:

A woman asks of google a genuine question in a string search who landing, somehow, on my blog.  It’s deserving a genuine answer, and I’m not sure anyone has addressed it.  She asks,

“How do I forgive a woman who has a crush on my husband?”

So, what guidelines would you offer this lady?   If you find yourself, or friends there, what counsel do you have, if any?  Oh, crushes are “normal”?  Thoughts you might have:  It will pass.  Probably harmless.  Get over it.  You’re too sensitive.  Nothing wrong with a little casual flirtation now and then.  You’re too serious.

These are all responses I’ve heard in our culture.  We won’t go into whether these are right or wrong, but I’m not sure any of them are helpful to people nativigating the waters, or hurting.

“Forgiveness”:

Forgiving takes time in these situations.  To whatever degree, we have felt violated in an important area.  It’s a challenge for all of us.

Just keep working at relationships…they are the hardest work there is.  It’s a process.  But, worth it.   “With God, all things are possible”.  (Bible, NT).

But, let’s extent this a little further, because it’s likely some “boundaries” here have been crossed that need some examination.

I’m going to start with a definition of the word “boundaries”. Boundaries are pre-determined, or common sense ways, or even intuition we carry that defines our “safe space”.  We have boundaries, almost like walled protection, around things inportant to us.  There are gates in the wall, where we may choose to let some people closer than others.  There are fences, perhaps internal to that, which also help give us the developmental and protective “space” we need in which to thrive.

Our “boundaries” as a couple should help protect our sense of safety.  If those have not been talked about or clearly discussed, now might be the time to read a marriage book together on the topic.  “BOUNDARIES” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend might be a good place to start.

Behavior that seems offensive to us needs to be dealt with.  A spouse should be willing to take whatever steps are necessary to help the other spouse feel safe within reasonable limits, depending on the severity of the fear.  We need to deal with the behavior first, and at the same time, begin working on our relationship with our spouse. THEN, we can deal with the other person at some point in regard to forgiveness.  For now, the person needs to be pushed as far and deliberately out of the picture as possible until the relationship feels solid again.  They see that we protect it first, then relationship can be attempted again until the walls and fences have been more clearly defined.  This is a process and sometimes a painful one.  But this in and out time period is important, especially where there is a three-some or four-some.  All the lines need to cross gracefully and respectfully.  Times of “apart-ness” need to test the commitment to primary relationships in the group.  It is, in some ways, a testing ground.  Will the marriage survive as primary?  It always should.   Never should, “you are just too jealous” be said.  Safe people do not get as squirm-ish.  Respect will generally flow from healthy relationships.  It is not a given.

We consider not only the space of the person we are dealing with, but also their spouse, for they are one.  God makes us “one” when we join in marriage.

Sensitivity and respect are necessary for us to interact in healthy ways in community, and it takes some experience and, as I said, some trial and error,  to navigate those waters.  With TV shows acting as if platonic and  deep cross-gender relationships outside the marriage should always be okay, we struggle to find what is Biblical.  The spouse needs to be the center of focus in any relationship.

Is my concern justified? Since I started this entry, I hear this question from people fairly often.  Your concern is likely justified if your radar keeps going up concerning the person.  It is justified if you are uncomfortable.  Don’t make “I’m right and you are wrong” statements.  But try to set up situations where you are more comfortable.  We are to respect one another’s weaknesses, scripture says.  Sometimes we are so bent out of shape in efforts to “not be a jealous spouse” that we don’t really protect our spouses, and our own hearts, as we should.  Often, one spouse will have discernment on an issue before the other does who is in the relationship.  Yes, people can get out of balance with insecurities, sometimes those seasons come and go, but we can honor each other as the Lord deals with them on insecurities.  We protect each other as a priority…we pray along with them, and we adjust.  Our marriage should be our most fulfilling relationship on earth, and it can be.  Work on it.

What does scripture actually say on this topic? First, Let me address my thoughts on what I believe is a mis-applied verse:  “Love is not jealous” in 1 Cor. 13.  As far as I can tell, that verse does not mean that jealousy has no place in married life.  “Love is not jealous” applies to wanting what others have, being envious, or being inordinately, and possessively jealous, or hyper-paranoidHowever, jealously has a place in marriage.  God Himself is described as “a jealous God”, and he is also “love” defined.  How can these two co-exist?  Because he gave us the model for monogomous relationships.  We are to love Him first and foremost, about all else, forsaking all others.  He wants our marriages to follow that model, laying down all others for the good of our marriage.

Let me say this:  it can be counterproductive to tell an unobservant husband that some friend or lady appears to have a crush on him!  You might say, “lately I’m struggling with _________”.  Could you please watch and be sure around them for a while?  I just feel outside of that.  Timing is everything, tone is everything.  But, every so often, “the talk” needs to happen, if it is frustrating you to the point where you frequently worry.

First, pray for him that his eyes would be opened.

Second, pray for your marriage, that you will be as willing to learn, understand, and meet needs which may be unmet.

Thrid, instill frequent, fun times to lighten the tone and rekindle.

Fourth, pray for your own heart condition.  If you are jealous of appearance, weight, hair, dress, profession, charms…then deal with the jealousies in your heart. You may need some time to deal with those, and if you do, it calls for some time.  Deal with your stuff.

A word of caution:  Do NOT play,”get even” games with your spouse.  If he/she can get away with _______, I can have a little fun, too!  See how they feel!  This is no time for games and scores. It’s time to learn, mature, and grow into leaders together, influencing the world as you are called to do.

Family is God’s biggest calling on our lives…to learn to do it well, and LEARN TO ENJOY IT FULLY!  He wants us to have a good life together!  We can be happy together, or we can be miserable together, but we are called to stay together.  He gives us the tools to do it well.

I’ve gotten my tail feathers sprung here and there by others at times, just as you likely have.  I have a very faithful man and feel utterly safe as a rule, but a reality check:  if you think you or your spouse is beyond an affair, beyond stumbling or struggling, even if at just a heart level, think again.  We are all vulnerable–things happen; we are tested.  Each of us, on either side.  If either of you are rehearsing conversations, or looks or glances, or interactions…you know.  If you are thinking about a person’s assessment of you as you get dressed or groom, you know. If you are looking forward to conversations with the person, you know. If you are reacting to the person inordinately, or too often, you know.  There is no need for paranoia, but there is a constant need for heart checks, and…for boundaries.  God doesn’t tell us to be careful around temptations, he commands us to FLEE from them.  That doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy people and anticipate having a good time when we are with them.  But, it does mean that we have self-examination to heed, or we may have a net set around our feet that is about to trip us up and tangle us up to the point that we have a very hard time seeing how it happened, or knowing how to get out without some broken bones.

Accountability

You may say to a close mentor, “Watch me for a while, I’m feeling tempted a lot lately and I need some prayer covering.”  They will.  You may need to be general about it, you may need to be more specific when the time calls for it.

Pro-Active Marriages Fare Better than Re-Active Ones:

We have to be pro-active in a culture whose divorce rates are soaring.  Pay the price for long term commitment. There is a lot at stake: witness, marriage, the family unit, example to your kids, the honor of Christ, and the happy, fulfilling, faithful living that God intended for us to have in all it’s fullness!

Formally Defining Boundaries

Couples will have to define together, and re-define initial boundaries here and there as life, situations, and needs change.   These help keep us in check if we see ourselves moving beyond what we agreed at one time were “safe” behaviors.  The set-point will call us back into check, or our spouse will!  Don’t get angry.  Praise God!

“We had agreed you would call before ever…to ask my permission” has powerful weight.  It will buy us time and often save us from situations that otherwise we might fall into for lack of good judgment or excuses.  “We are just good friends…everybody knows that”, etc.  “Other people do it”.  “It won’t hurt once.”  “This is a special circumstance”.  “I’m just…” , or “I was the only person to _____”.

At the risk of you taking a boundary that doesn’t apply to you, I’ll share one from my own marriage.  We always calls to ask my permission before riding alone with a person of the opposite sex, no matter who it is.  This often comes in handy to save either of us getting into a situation we don’t need to be in.  We simply say that we need to call home first and if the other isn’t comfortable, we simply say, “I’m so sorry, I’m going to have to get right home.  I hope you get it worked out.  If you still can’t find a ride, call US and WE’LL come rescue you!”  No need for the whys.  Just cover yourself with your spouse.

DO BOUNDARIES MAKE ME FEEL IRRESPONSIBLE, LIKE A CHILD?

I am not sure why spouses today seem to feel the need to “trust” one another to the point of not setting healthy boundaries, but that is a trend.  NOT having some boundaries WILL create trust issues.  If we know what the expectations are, we know how to please our spouse and protect them.  That FEELS GOOD.  It may prick short term when you feel “checked”, but it feels good long-term, when you stand the test, and your spouse feels secure.  When our primary aim is to honor our spouse, we do not feel “policed” as much as our marriage feels PROTECTED.  You will feel good knowing your marriage is something your spouse cares about saving!

How do you set “boundaries”?  What are you talking about? I gave you one example from our lives, it doesn’t have to apply to you.  Your work situation may call for it often.  It’s just one we have set.  Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what they are, it’s just that you are making yourself accountable and submissive to the terms of another person instead of doing your own thing, trusting yourself overly, in every situation.

I love this verse and the expansion the Ampified version of the Bible gives it:

Philippians 2:12
Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (selfdistrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).

Again, I often hear one partner say of another, “She/He just doesn’t trust me.”

Friends, the truth of the matter we need to embrace, according to the word of God, is that we don’t even need to trust ourselves.

Hello?

Did you read that scripture?  Seriously.

What we CAN trust is the word of God.  Yes, we can pray for wisdom, receive it, act on it, “without wavering” as the book of James commends us to do.  We can trust things the Lord tells us to do and how He tells us to live.

It’s the everyday whims, interactions, and situations where we can get caught off-guard where we must be very careful.

The trust is, we are not a trust-worthy people by nature.  NONE of us. Don’t go comparing your spouse to someone else’s who doesn’t seem to be bothered or care about anything.  You are married to YOUR spouse.  Honor them.  Your concern is not the marriage down the street and what he or she “gets away with”.

Hopefully, we learn to become trustworthy and have a reputation that makes it easy for our spouse to relax somewhat.  But, it is the work of God in us constantly checking each of us that maintains a holy and goldy life, not something inherent to our character or some natural sense of faithfulness or goodness we think we possess. Scripture reminds us  “Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin].” (1 Corinthians 10:12 AMP).

Disciplines help keep our hearts safe, making daily interactions easier.

MORE ON BOUNDARIES:

Boundaries can be common sense, or due to intuition, but not necessarily.  Realize that different people have different expectations, limits, and comfort zones for what makes them feel secure and safe.  Each spouse may have different needs.  Nevertheless, boundaries set for one will probably apply to the other to keep things feeling “fair.

Men and women have different basic needs, however.  Security is a primary need for most women in relationships.  Without it, waters are very rough for sailing!

SOME PROTECTIVE BOUNDARIES I’VE HEARD:

I’ll share some boundaries we’ve heard through the years that sold both of this on this idea.  See if these don’t show respect for a spouse.

“I do not go up an elevator with a woman alone when I am on business at hotels.  In that way, I am never tempted to deal with uncomfortable situations and I avoid even the appearance of evil”.  (Billy Graham said something to that effect, sorry I do not have the exact quote).

James Dobson has held similar guidelines for traveling alone.

Another I respected said, “At hotels, I have the cable turned off to my hotel room, or ask for the TV to be removed if that cannot be done to avoid inappropriate channel surfing.”  He just knew his curiousity was too high for the temptation when he was bored and alone.

Here is another many couples I know have taken on:  “I will not counsel a cross gender person on issues of their spouse, marriage, or intimacy issues.  I will defer those people to my spouse, or schedule times to talk when we are together.”  Some professionals, counselors, and church staff, must work around this issue in other ways, but for the general public, even deacons, this is often a good rule of thumb.  It cannot be entirely avoided, at times, but you can see warning signs, and divert care-givers to these people who are more healthy for them long-term.

CAN’T WE HAVE FUN?

Yes!  Living life well is fun!  There is no more fulfilling life.  Honor for the spouse is the priority.  These couples want to do whatever it takes to protect what is stated to be most important to both of them, especially for what they perceive to be “high-risk” situations.

Some people are geared to be, (or negligent in being, depending on how you want to view it) more “playful” than others.  Some “playfulness” can be tempered with maturity and exemplify priorities like love, respect, and honor for an esteemed spouse.  If the spouse is honestly not offended, carefully consider witness on this issue.  What you and your spouse may be strong enough to handle, young people, or young marriages around you may be playing with fire to try to emulate.  There is nothing so painful as seeing someone follow in your footsteps… and fall.  Nothing.

“Humanity”, or what is called simply”human-ness”, “attachments” can so entagle us that foolishness can start “looking wise in our own eyes”. We may feel that what is clearly common sense no longer applies to us.  For this reason, accountability with our spouse and others is so important…it holds us true to ground zero– “center”.

NEEDS:

While a spouse is not always at fault for the faithlessness chosen by a spouse, it is important to try to keep your relationship healthy.  A healthy marriage is a more resilient marriage.  A healthy marriage should make temptations easier to resist.  A healthy marriage should feel like something very much worth protecting in a world where they are hard to find.

I’m not sure that I can cover these topics in full here, but they are some ideas to prayerfully consider if you are struggling on either end of this spectrum, the offending spouse, or the one offended.

You are Changing and Growing:

Unmet, or even “created” “needs” can begin to dominate reasoning processes to the point where we are not using good sense.  In such a setting, excuses and reasonings can begin to sound like “God’s provision” when they are not.  A time like that isn’t logically a time to trust yourself.  It’s a time to use common sense.

I say “created needs” because your spouse, not another person, should be the first to know when your “needs” are changing. I also say “created needs” because Satan has a good way of creating or magnifying “needs” we may not even have known we had; now we suddenly “deserve” to have filled.  He trips us up.  He is not called “the deceiver” for nothing.  We become “me” centered…much more than usual. A breakdown begins.

Now, you may have to tell your spouse, even though someone else picked up on it first!  That’s okay!  It’s okay it they thought they “knew” you, and you’ve changed a little.  It’s okay if family responsibilities haven’t allowed them to see the person you’ve become.  Family life is very consuming.  They probably know you better than anyone on the planet, in fact!

Change is the maturing process of life, and we must choose to continue to reveal ourselves to one another, just as God reveals Himself to us along our path.  While He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we are constantly “getting to know” Him!  Our marriages are just as rich. Celebrate that! Don’t just assume that you are “no longer in love” because someone along your path suddenly “knows you better” than your spouse may at any given moment.  Simply recognize this and to draw closer to your spouse, while possibly “blocking” any “intruder” to your faithfulness.

Arrange times to reveal yourself to your spouse, and give them opportunity to stay in love with the person you are becoming.

Don’t assume they will grow with you if you are not creating common pathways.  Build your lives around one another.  That’s how you stay married…not by walking in opposite directions for so long that you claim you’ve just ‘fallen out of love’.

Love is nurtured and built, not just dropped in our laps.  The most enduring loves must choose to grow together, and even choose to wait on one another to catch up to where we are at times.

One suggestion might be to try to arrange some marriage retreat time and work on new goals for your relationship together.  Take those times seriously when your spouse tries to talk to you.

Don’t go blaming your spouse for not meeting needs they didn’t realize you were having.

THE GIFT OF CONTENTMENT:

Don’t expect family life to feel like the same thrill as the dating stage was!  You have a lifetime of work cut out for you, especially those of you raising children or caring for aging family members.

Realize that there is a great stability and calm and reliability to the “sameness” of marriage…enjoy it’s benefits without wishing for times that are past, with all their moodiness, unpredictability, and…dare I say, expense?

Learn the art of contentment.  “Godliness with contentment [NIV] (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great gain. “(I Timothy 6:6 AMP).  What does “inward sufficiency” come from if not from Christ who is our “all” and “all in all”?  Letting Christ be your completion fills the holes of these times if you will let him, sometimes, while the dust settles and things calm.  Continuing to allow access to your life by a third person while saying you are “trusting Christ” probably only means you are fooling yourself.  If someone has come in between you and your spouse, cut off the relationship.

While growing together, also learn to appreciate the joy of being able to rest in your marriage relationship without expecting it to constantly maintain the “spark” of a new relationship.  In marriage, there will be moments of “spark”, but there will also be days of “work” and “mood” and “sickness”.  This is marriage.

“Growing Apart”

Getting too attached to someone outside the marriage can, and most likely WILL interfere with relationship with our own spouse.  Suddenly, someone else knows more about what is going on with us than our spouse does, and there is great danger in that.  I am not referring to professional counseling situations that are needful, but those need to be examined.

Keep the focus what, or rather WHO, should be the focus.

Yes, I believe that your marriage partner SHOULD be your best opposite gender friend.  If he/she is not, there is much room for improvement, and much room for caution.

Needs:

Let’s talk some more on “needs”.  How can we find out what our needs are?  A book I recommend is,  His Needs Her Needs:  Building an Affair-Proof Marriage.

This is a book to be completed in a marriage class.  A strong leader guiding a class through this book can build you up, hold you to task, challenge you, and take you higher than you’ve ever been in relationship with your spouse.  You’ll come out a different couple.

You might be asking, does every single need we have get met in marriage?  Not entirely.  But there is a healthy cluster of “need-meeting” that defines who we are as a couple…it builds us up, and is basic to the health of a marriage.  “Need-meeting” can be greatly improved for most of us so that we are “satisfied” (even without being married to the “perfect spouse”…and no one is “perfect“!

We all have strengths and weaknesses, things we need to improve on.

THE PROBLEM WITH “STARTING OVER”

Did you know that second marriages a greater chance statistically of also failing?  Third marriages even more so!  Let the one go, and cling to the cherished “spouse of your youth” as Proverbs says.  Make a commitment to just keep getting better!  You can do it together.

There is, actually, no “starting over”.  What happens in all our relationships, we carry with us through life…they become part of who we are and have become.  They help  make us, form, and shape us.  This is why scripture encourages us to be careful who our friends are, for we will become like them.  We become “one” when we marriage in God’s eyes.  There is nothing to make us “un-one” with him.  We take remnants of that with us wherever we go.  Childen still embrace both parents and their “ONE” family of origen.  We cannot take that from them.  To try to do so is very harmful, even to adulthood.  Imagine the discomfort of not being able to suddenly discuss one parent interaction in front of the other without a tinge of bitterness and anger in every conversation.  How miserable for children!  To learn to love is the better choice, when it is physically and emotionally possible to do so.  I am not speaking here of long-term situations of abuse or severe cases of neglect.

HIS life; HER life…

Some couples seem to isolate certain areas of their personal lives as “my zone”.  That is okay, but also take care to have interests and hobbies you share together, even if it isn’t your “thing”…support your spouse.  Learn about their interests.  Be a cheerleader.  Enjoy watching them do what they do well.  Celebrate their interests on occasion.  Take some part of the most fun things in their life.  Value the whole of who they are.

HOPE: God offers hope for marriage.  It is His design.  It is the best design.  It is not trouble-free, and it can easily be threatened.  It is God’s commitment to make it work, in His ways, His time.

Who are we to question what He has given?

We have to do it His way or satisfaction will not to follow.

His standards.

You have been made aware:  hormones and emotional attachments can grow strong!  So, don’t tempt the human being you are.  Respect it.  Flee from temptation.

Don’t dance with it for the joy of the song.  Turn off the music and walk back to your spouse.  Find your music there!  It is playing, however quietly.

A Biblical principle :  “to honor family above all else is to honor God above all else.”

Honor God by setting yourself up to stay “honorable”.

HOW IT BEGINS:

Nobody sets out one day to have an affair.  Lines are crossed.

Pride is our enemy.

Reasoning takes it’s toll.

Boundaries are about learning how to do battle BEFORE trouble takes hold.  Few recover after it does.  Though some do.  Learn how to recover if you fall.

Learn how to pull away when you need to.  It is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.  Character is learned.  Pass the tests!

Remember that it is YOUR marriage.  You two have to make the rules to some degree.  You are not responsible for setting them for everyone else and judging them for not following guidelines that work for you.

Boundaries you set are for the protection and honor of your marriage and spouse. Think about sticky situations in advance together so that you consider how to respond in ways that honor the Lord and your marriage. God says there is no test where they is not a way out.  Plan the escape routes NOW!  Rehearse the words you will say–rehearsed or prepared responses may save the day.  They will allow you to say, “This is how I treat everyone to honor my spouse, it’s not personal.”

While these ideas are meant to be read in the context of cross-gender interactions for married couples, some of them are safe principles to keep in mind even for single folks out there.

Some Guides that May Help

  • VEHICLES: there is usually a same gender person who can help run the errand, go get the car, or take you home.  It’s too big a set-up if it happens frequently.  No, it doesn’t look co-dependant to call a spouse and ask for permission.  Just don’t volunteer or say “I’ll get back to you in a few minutes on that” if someone asks.  I went into detail as to how you can phrase this above, so I won’t repeat that here.
  • MEALS: Eating meals together over conversation, drinking coffee or having break time with one person primarily and often during breaks is a set up.  Recognize the ways we set ourselves up and steer clear.  In most parts of the country, even the “business lunch” can be avoided in favor of safer situations.  Join groups, wait for you spouse or another person to show up.
  • SUPPORT: A frequent one I’ve seen that spells trouble:  young moms at church during socials and meals.  Develop and look for supportive people who are healthy for you.  Even a well-meaning deacon can get in the way striving to do nothing more than “serve” initially.  Deacon wives, step in.  Be available to young moms.
  • PHONE CALLS: Keep calls pointed.  When points of dead air time are there with no reason to remain on the phone, it’s time to excuse yourself and get back to work.  Don’t extend conversations into involved personal matters if it doesn’t apply to the two of you, and even if it does, don’t make those calls frequent or prolonged.  Deal with it, let your spouse know there is something up (say you are on a ministry team together and need to work something out).  Feel free to ask about their family in general, but don’t delve deeply into personal issues, family issues,  or behavioral issues–invite the couple over to supper and interact as groups if that support is needed.  Deep issues need to be handled with those trained to do the job and truly provide help needed.  Don’t connect with an opposite gender person more than it seems their spouse is–VERY easy to do with IMs, blogs, chat rooms and texting!
  • PERSONAL CONVERSATIONS: Don’t talk cross gender about marriage problems, struggles, and frustrations.  You cannot be a safe brother or sister if their heart is hurting.  Send someone who is appropriate if you sense a need, even if you can’t break the confidence…send relationships their way, and trust God with them. Assure them you and your spouse will pray.  Try to shift or cut off the conversation if you need to.  If you are a minister…find good training, have great accountability, keep working at building a strong marriage , and stick to strong personal boundaries.  Have co-ministers who ask you hard questions. and help you vent stresses.
  • WATCH SHOWING OFF YOUR SPOUSE: This may sound absurd on first thought, but affair-proofing marriages means you are careful to not create dissatisfaction for the brother or sister who has it hard in that area.  By all means, brag on your spouse as God leads!  In doing so, just try to be sensitive to not provoke jealousy one on one with your co-worker.  Solomon made this mistake, and brought vulnerability on himself when he he showed off even the secret storage rooms of his castle to visitors, noting to them everything he had.  He held nothing back from them.  His castle was invaded shortly thereafter.  Learn from Solomon’s example when it comes to your marriage.
  • THE WORKPLACE:  Consider the “open-door” policy.  If you have an office…leave the door open as much as is possible for meetings, talks, and interactions.  Don’t make other Christians cringe with the playful way you interact at work.  Treat people honorably.  Act as if your spouse were present.
  • PRAYER: Learn how to pray non-emotionally.  This can feel backward in light of attempts toward authenticity.  But if you need to pray for someone cross gender, be very careful.  Heart ties are formed very easily in prayer, both healthy and unhealthy ones.  Point them to strength of God…not the strength found in hearing YOU pray.  You don’t need to be SuperPerson, Hero of the Day, or The Lone Ranger.  Let a spouse or other “safe people” be the one to “reach their heart” in prayer, or hunt down your spouse before the time of prayer…this honors and values their involvement in your ministry.  You are “one”!
  • COMPLIMENTS: this is an area of high need for most people.  Seasoned and matured people have learned to deal with stray flattery and even honest compliments.  We all want and need to be complimented.  But beware of frequent compliments toward the same person or received FROM the same person too often.  Be aware that many spouses do not meet this need well.  Don’t make someone stumble in an attempt to build them up.  Be sensitive and pray for wisdom.  You can be an encourager to people without causing them to stumble.  Strive for this goal.
  • SERVICE: In general, men need to take care of men, and women need to meet the needs of women, or couples need to work in pairs.  Jump in there.  Don’t be shy.  If your church doesn’t support this model, gently nudge from time to time and see if doors open for you.
  • SPOUSE SUPPORT: Get to know the people your spouse serves — let them know you; be open.  You might take treats to his office, where that may be helpful.  Show yourself to be taking care of him, not pulling him down.  If He has female staff, they will respect and honor you for your commitment to and love for, him. Call during lunch.  Show regular,  priority in these things toward your spouse.  When you honor each other, others will honor your relationship as well.
  • DRESS: Pray about what you need to wear each day.  If God doesn’t give you a complete peace about it, stop and change, even if you are in a hurry.  This deals more with women than men, but to many men as well.  If YOU are the focus of your dress rather than the function you need to perform that day, reconsider WHY you are dressing the way you are.  What need are you trying to meet, and should it be met outside of your marriage?  If you are hoping to be noticed and given attention…discipline yourself, and allow God to help grow you to maturity so that you aren’t causing someone else’s spouse to stumble.  Reject the “it you’ve got it, flaunt it” notion, or it’s partner that says you can play up one suite to compensate for lack of strength in another.  The goal is modesty and appropriateness so that no one stumbles.  Women can provoke jealousy and frustration with other women by not respecting these sensitivities.  If you want to flaunt what you’ve got, save it for date night with your spouse.  No one else needs to see you flaunting.   Be well dressed.  Take care of yourself.  Be lovely.  Be handsome and well groomed.  Take good care of yourself and your appearance, only guard the reasons behind what you are doing.

Some of these are to discuss as a couple, some are to prayerfully consider yourself over time.

God bless you as you strive for the joy and happiness God planned for you and yours!

Other Resources:

Focus on the Family (www.FOTF.org)  They have awesome real-life testimonies and tapes

“Marriage Partnership” is a Christian-based magazine which you can subscribe to.  Great “bathroom” reading.

Email, or comment below.  I appreciate your thoughts and will pray for you.

About the author:  “Magnanimity” is a personal blog from a stay-at-home Mom with BS degrees in Individual & Family Development/ Family, & Consumer Finance.  The word “Magnanimity” is a bi-word reminding her to live life purposefully according to scriptural principles. She is married to a wonderful man, and they raise three children together, she plays keyboard in her church band, and has a new chocolate lab named Daisy who will soon weigh more than she does (note: she doesn’t like dogs in particular.)  She does like a lot of hazelnut and vanilla cream, AND sugar in her decaf coffee (a coffee wimp, in other words).

Other related blog entries on related subjects:

The Crush and The Christian Marriage

How Do I Forgive a Crush on My Spouse? (Boundaries in Marriage)

Christian Dress:  I Need to Feel Sexy: Meeting a Real Need

Christian Dress (Part 2): Some Practical Examples

How Do I Get My Spouse to (               ):  Working Together Toward a Spectacular Marriage

July 29, 2006 at 8:07 pm 14 comments

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ME: “MAGGIE”

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Sifting the joy from the mundane:

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I am married to the love of my life, as we raise three children, learning the ways of grace.

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Magnanimity (derived from the Latin roots magn- great, and anima, soul) is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes. Its antithesis is pusillanimity. Both terms were coined by Aristotle, who called magnanimity "the crowning virtue."

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines Magnanimity as such:

MAGNANIM'ITY, n. [L. magnanimitas; magnus, great, and animus, mind.] Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.[1] (Source: Wikipedia)

MAGNANIMOUS WORK

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"We shall not waste our time in looking for extraordinary experiences in our life, but live by pure faith, ever watchful and ready for His coming by doing our day-to-day duties with extraordinary love and devotion." ~Mother Teresa

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"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today. Let us begin." ~Mother Teresa

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MAGNANIMOUS ATTITUDE

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A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in it's vicinity freshen into smiles. --Washington Irving

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When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. -Harriet Beecher Stowe

YOU CAME; I SMILED

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