Tag Archives: love and marriage

5 Simple Ways to Love Your Spouse

Create and sustain a healthy marriage by loving your spouse well.

Life is busy. Between carting the around kids and keeping up with a calendar full of commitments, we sometimes forget about the responsibilities that don’t get penciled into our planners. But God calls us to honor Him in all areas of our lives—and our marriages are no exception. Here are five ways to help you create and sustain a healthy marriage by loving your spouse well.

Compliment Their Character
Instead of commenting on the way they look, build them up with a compliment that focuses on the way they handle conflict, their work ethic or their trustworthiness. This type of compliment shows both love and respect to your spouse.

Give Them Your Undivided Attention
Surprise your significant other by making sitter arrangements for the kids and spend the night cooking a meal together or snuggling up and watching a movie. Taking care of any distractions in advance will show them that you’re interested in focusing on their needs.

Hold Their Hand
Show them affection during the most ordinary moments. Grab their hand while you’re grocery shopping or walk up to them in a crowded room and give them a hug. Showing physical affection in small ways, when they least expect it, will speak volumes.

Give Them A Gift
Stop by the store on your way home or order their favorite gifts, just because. These sweet surprises let your loved one know that they’re on your mind. Make sure they don’t feel like it takes a special occasion for them to be appreciated.

Take Care of the Honey-Do List
Is there an unfinished task that has been weighing on your spouse—maybe a closet that needs to be organized or yard work they haven’t gotten to? Remove that burden from their shoulders by taking care of it for them.

Keep your relationship thriving amid the demands and conflicts of everyday life by understanding The 5 Love Languages that define how men and women give and receive love. The 5 Love Languages books are all 40% off now through Valentine’s Day.

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Preparing for Marriage: 4 Must-Read Books for Newly Engaged Couples

Preparing for Marriage: 4 Must-Read Books for Newly Engaged Couples

Love

You’re engaged! Excitement sets in and your head spins just thinking about all of the details to work out – the dress, the venue, the invites. But what about your marriage? Planning for your life together after your big day is an important and often overlooked step. Set yourselves up for a relationship rooted in Christ with these must-read engagement and marriage preparation books.

All books are Buy One Get One 50% Off at Family Christian now through August 25. Buy one for yourself and one for your soon-to-be spouse! Then discuss what you learned together.

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married
Bestselling author and marriage counselor, Gary Chapman, put together this practical book to help couples prepare for marriage and learn the skills of working together as intimate teammates. This book is packed with wisdom and tips that will help you develop the loving, supportive and mutually beneficial marriage both men and women long for.

Preparing for Marriage
Begin the lifelong task of building a strong Christian marriage with eight sessions of fun, romantic study that will help you target areas for growth in your relationship. You can work through the book as a couple, with a pastor, with a premarital counselor or with a small group. Don’t just plan your wedding, prepare for your marriage!

Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts
Relationship experts Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott offer time-tested marriage principles to help couples debunk myths, establish lines of communication, fight a good fight, master money management, and become true soul mates with seven questions to ask before and after you marry.

Before You Say “I Do”
This popular and helpful interactive workbook is designed to strengthen your love relationship and deepen your bond. You’ll find all you need for fun and thoughtful discussions as you explore what the Bible teaches about marriage, what makes you feel loved and how to handle conflict.

What’s the best marital advice you received before tying the knot?

Miles Apart and Didn’t Even Know It

JACKIE BLEDSOE FEBRUARY 16, 2016

Miles Apart and Didn’t Even Know It
JACKIE BLEDSOE

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12 (NLT) 

A couple years ago my wife, Stephana, and I were at a marriage retreat. We were asked to participate in an exercise where we rated the state of our marriage. After revealing our answers to one another, the difference was shocking.

We were miles apart and didn’t even know it.

That little exercise quickly revealed we were in what I call the “marriage danger zone.” It was dangerous because at least one of us was ignorant about how the other person was feeling, how they perceived our marriage and whether or not their needs were being met in our marriage.

The worst part was we’d been there before.

There have been many times when things seemed to be going great for one of us, then a conversation revealed the other was completely dissatisfied, frustrated or hurt. To the spouse who thought everything was going great, it came as a complete shock, and left us wondering, Where did this come from?

On our wedding day, most of us say “I do” or utter heartfelt vows along the lines of, “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health …”

We think we’ll never forget those words.

Yet it seems we do. Somehow, we forget we made that promise. We forget that challenges are inevitable — especially when the “worse,” “poor” and “sickness” parts of marriage head our way.

Based on our wedding vows and the percentage of married couples who divorce, it seems like we would expect challenges in our marriages. That’s why we vow to our spouses we will be there and will still love them when — not if — these challenges arise. Yet we also know it’s much easier said than done.

As Stephana and I have learned, a lasting and truly fulfilling marriage only happens through persevering. Indeed, marriage is hard and takes work, but great rewards often come as a result.

As our key verse reminds us, we shouldn’t be surprised when we face challenges, as if it were something strange.

One of the biggest challenges in our marriage came during the times we were homeless. Yes, I said “times” with an “s” at the end, as it happened twice.

We went from two regular incomes with some pretty good benefits and financial perks to two very inconsistent incomes with no benefits and zero financial perks. And we had no idea when it would end. Yes, it was a huge obstacle and one that has destroyed many marriages. But our marriage came out stronger in the end.

Difficulties in marriage are hardly positive experiences at the time, yet the Bible paints a beautiful picture of them. The reason is simply because struggles, trials and hard work are part of the development process God uses to get the most out of us and the best for us.

These difficulties are necessary in God’s way of doing things. This includes our marriages as well. As we experience and embrace this, we can approach challenges in our marriages from a completely different viewpoint.

I don’t know what obstacles your marriage may be facing today, but I do know you can overcome them together. What you are facing is intended to strengthen you and your marriage, not destroy it. If you have faced trials before, be encouraged by our story, and get ready to tell your story of overcoming marriage obstacles.

It may be the story that saves another marriage similar to ours and yours. They, too, could be miles apart and not even know it.

Dear God, thank You for how You are working in my marriage, even through trials. I ask for Your help to persevere and see how trials in my life can be used for good. Empower me to choose joy even in the midst of trials because something amazing will be produced. Help me to hold on, not give up and allow You to complete Your work in me through them. Thanks, God, for Your grace, which allows me to persevere during the tough times of marriage. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (NIV)

Romans 15:5-6, “Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.” (HCSB)

RELATED RESOURCES:
From the engagement ring to years after the wedding ring, every season of a marriage requires renewed commitment, fresh perspective and practical biblical wisdom. Jackie Bledsoe’s DVD-driven Bible study and book, The 7 Rings of Marriage, will teach couples to view their marriage with the end in mind.

If you’d like more encouraging thoughts on marriage and parenting, stop by Jackie Bledsoe’s blog.

Enter to WIN a copy of The 7 Rings of Marriage by Jackie Bledsoe. In celebration of this book, Jackie’s publisher is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, February 22.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Think of a time when you faced a trial with a positive attitude and a time when you didn’t. How does your attitude make a difference?

© 2016 by Jackie Bledsoe. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks LifeWay for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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