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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Conflict of the Ages: In The Beginning

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

6 Ideas for Unified Prayer in Your Marriage

By Ryan Frederick

Prayer is a core part of the Christian life; naturally, it should extend to our most intimate relationship: marriage.
One author and theologian, Henri Nouwen says: “a spiritual life without prayer is like the gospel without Christ.”

Two common questions about prayer and marriage

People often write to ask about prayer in their marriage. These are two of the most common questions we receive:
Q: Why should I pray with my spouse?
A: For intimacy—with God and with your spouse.
Prayer is an indication of devotion and an expression of intimacy. When we pray together, we metaphorically and physically align ourselves (as a couple) and place our entire focus on God. Prayer unifies us in purpose as we express thanks and worship to God, bring our problems to Him, and ask Him for guidance.
Q: So… how do I pray with my spouse?
A: Honestly and humbly.
Praying can be tough to do together if you’ve never tried it. If you’re intimidated or unsure on how to pray with your spouse, try this:

6 ideas for unified prayer in your marriage

1: Hold hands.

Make sure to face each other and hold hands when you pray. It sounds obvious but it’s still worth mentioning. Holding hands is a physical way to express unity and closeness, and facing each other opens your posture toward one another.

2: Embrace silence.

Sometimes you don’t know what to say—that’s fine! It’s alright to be quiet and listen. Conversing with God involves Him talking to you as well. Additionally, filling the air with words for their own sake doesn’t make your prayers more likely to be heard. God hears every word!

3: Write down your prayer requests.

Keep a notebook handy or a note on your phone with a list of things you’re praying for. I’ve found that if I don’t write them down, I’m very likely to forget them when it’s finally time to pray. Your heavenly Father wants to hear your concerns and requests. Write them down and bring it ALL to Him, He’s big enough!

4: Pray for each other.

No one knows your spouse as well as you. Intercede on his/her behalf—for health, strength, wisdom, courage, anything.

5: Pray explicitly for your marriage.

Pray that you’ll grow closer as a couple. Pray for direction on how to serve Jesus together. Ask God for unity and clarity of vision. The last thing you want is to be divided.

6: Pray for your community.

Pray for your community and friends however you feel lead. Your time interceding on their behalf may spur thought on how you can minister in your community as a couple and as a family.

A marriage marked by prayer

This list is just a start—and it’s definitely not the most theologically robust. However, I hope it gets you thinking. For some couples, prayer is a completely new concept. For others, it’s a time tested necessity for their marriage. Either way, praying together with your spouse has an amazing way of taking your focus off of yourselves and placing it on Jesus.
We hope your marriage is one marked by communion with God, and prayer plays a vital role in building your trust and reliance on him.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

One Year After... (A must read)

One Year After This Husband Left His Wife For A Younger Woman, He Realized The Sobering Truth
By Caren Gibson

When an anonymous husband divorced from his wife, he traded her in for a younger, prettier version. He was, apparently, happy with this choice, content with giving up the mother of his children for someone who took more pride in her appearance. But then he saw his ex-wife on the street a year after their separation. It was only then that he realized what a terrible mistake he’d made.

The media often waves around the statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce. And while that figure’s not strictly untrue, it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. In fact, some believe that the divorce rate in the U.S. has actually fallen consistently for several years.

Whatever the truth, there are many reasons cited for those who do opt for divorce. Among the top ten factors for calling time on a marriage are finances, loss of identity and growing apart. For some, however, the reasons can be somewhat superficial.

Recently, a video has emerged of a man apparently stating why he left his wife. The confession, posted on the Facebook page, has received more than 37 million views since it was uploaded on April 18, 2017, and it contains a valuable lesson for everyone who has seen it.

In the video, the anonymous man begins, “A year ago I separated from my wife.” So far, his revelation is not that shocking;  after all, it’s still believed that a third of marriages may end in divorce. What follows, however, is a little more startling.

The nameless and faceless man proceeds to cite the reason for his failed marriage. He admits, “I left her for a younger, more attractive woman.” A rather shallow admission, indeed. He then goes on to describe how his wife had allegedly let herself go.

“My ex was flabby, unkempt, didn’t shave, and had droopy breasts,” he described, before adding, “I no longer found her attractive.” He clearly wasn’t pulling any punches. But while experts say that physical attraction isn’t the sole basis of a strong, lasting relationship, it is nonetheless still an important factor.

The man longed for the beautiful woman his wife had once been. Alas, he said, “Her now-faded beauty was only a memory.” It seemed this man had little hope of rekindling the passion in his failing marriage, and so he did what he thought was best for both of them and divorced her.

But the story takes a sudden and unexpected twist, not least for the now ex-husband. The man’s tale would continue 12 months down the line when he saw his ex-wife in the street. The video’s narrator goes on to say, “Today, exactly a year after I left her, I saw her again.”

What he had seen, however, was a different woman to the wife he divorced. He said, “She was glowing and had lost weight. She was once again beautiful. She no longer showed her wear-and-tear of the years.”

The woman he had seen in the street got him reflecting on the woman he had given up. He said, “Now I sit here and think about her extra pounds.” Was there any truth in the idea that more weight means there’s more to love? Then, a light bulb lit for the mystery man.

Reflecting on his new-found realization, he said, “She got cellulite because she no longer had time to go to the gym. She had to take care of the kids at home.” As if the penny had finally dropped, he realized his wife had, in fact, been putting her kids before herself.

Speaking of his epiphany, the man continued, “She didn’t have time to dress nicely. The little time that she did have, she gave to me and forgot to take care of herself.” The recognition of why his wife’s beauty had faded was finally understood.

Whereas, once upon a time, earlier in their relationship, his wife had time to make herself look good for her man, she now had a family to care for. In acknowledgement the man said, “Instead she changed diapers and breastfed until her breasts sagged, and she was proud of that.”

“And after all of the exertion from cooking, ironing and cleaning,” he continued, “she seemed to be happy with her family.” For the wife, sacrificing her own needs wasn’t even an issue. Taking care of her family was what happiness meant to her.

But then came the bombshell. Suddenly aware of what he had given up, the man said, “Now I know what it’s like to have a real woman at home.” It was, however, too late. He had made his choice to trade, and now his wife had moved on with her life.

Yes, there was now no way back. He had given up his wife and family for all the wrong reasons. And, although he now realized the error of his ways, he wasn’t in a position to do anything about it. All he could do was admit, “I was foolish to trade true beauty for the superficial.”

“I have lost this woman forever because I was unable to recognize and treasure the true worth of a dedicated housewife and mother. Now, someone else will do that.” And while it’s too late for this anonymous man, there’s clearly a lesson to be learned from his story.

Being a mom is the toughest job in the world. It’s 24/7, there are no days off and no sick leave. It requires a lot of stamina, hard work and dedication, with little, if any, time for oneself. The reward of taking care of the family is the payoff for all of them.

This man didn’t realize his wife’s worth as a mother, as a partner, as a best friend and as a soulmate until it was too late. Indeed, real beauty comes from within. What he saw on the outside as a woman who had let herself go was actually a woman who was putting her kids and her husband’s needs before her own. So, let’s hope that others learn from his message before they too make a similar mistake.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Always Talk & See Progress

By Victor Odiong

Wow!!! I can't believe we are in the month of May already. Here is a piece of advice as we get into the new month, ALWAYS TALK AND SEE PROGRESS. It matters how you see. If you light a room with a red bulb, everything in the room will tend to appear red. Now, change the bulb to a green one and the same stuff that appeared red a few seconds ago suddenly appears green. My question is, what kind of light are you using to view your life? Do you see yourself as a victim or a Victor?  Victims whine and complain all the time. They are always telling everyone what they are going through. No matter how life blesses them, they always find something to complain about and they are always so eager to tell the world about it.

A Victor, on the other hand may be going through the same experience, but he never concentrates on the process. Rather, he is excited about his outcome, his end. You see, whatever you may think you are going through, it is just a process. It isn't the end. Joseph was sold by his brothers. Unknown to him, it was the process to the throne. It wasn't a thrilling experience, the process never is. When Jesus hung on the cross, that was the process not the end. The victory was not on the cross but at the resurrection. You never heard Joseph or Jesus complaining about how badly they had been mistreated by people they trusted. Winners never do. Winners understand that the process is part of the journey. 
So, quit complaining about the process. Be excited about the end. The Bible says that Jesus, because of the joy that was set before him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). People who complain about the process often miss out on opportunities.

My friend, it matters how you look. Look with hope. The devil wants you to whine and complain about how unfairly life has treated you. He wants you to talk about your pain and misery. Funny enough,  God isn't moved by such.

Enjoy the process. Even in prison, Joseph was still in charge. You couldn't keep him down. You didn't find him in a corner wallowing in self-pity, waiting for payback day on his brothers. He knew that wouldn't change anything.  That's one important fact complainers seem to forget, that complaining doesn't change anything. If you don't like where you are right now, then change it. If Joseph never went to jail, he would never have met the guy, who would later tell the king Joseph could interpret dreams. It was that single reference that made him prime minister over Egypt. That's why I said earlier that the process is part of the journey.

Never stay down.........even while in the process, you too can make the difference.
See you @ the top.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Your Husband is NOT a Pervert: Part 1

By Nicole Cottrell

It goes without saying that men are visual creatures. We know that “sex sells,” and one of the main reasons for that is because men are visual. It is not women who are usually buying sex, so to speak.
But if a woman could spend a day inside a man’s mind, would she be disgusted and horrified to find out just how much he actually thinks of sex? Would a wife, for instance, end up thinking her husband is a pervert? Probably. That’s how much the male mind focuses on sex.
The truth is, though: your husband is NOT a pervert. He is a man and, like every other man, his sexuality is quite simple to understand.Prager says men have 5 components of sexuality: the power of the visual, the immediacy of arousal, the tendency to sexually objectify women, the need for variety, and genital,–as opposed to emotional–arousal. Update: Many people, in the comments, were quick to point out, that these facts about male sexual nature are a result of the Fall, not God’s design. Thus both men and women’s sexual nature is a result of our sin, not God’s plan. Regardless of the origin of male nature, it is still his nature. I’m not debating how men came to be the way they are, but simply acknowledging the truth about their behavior.
Women often don’t like to talk about male sexuality, know nothing about it, or both. Sure, ladies understand that men like sex and want sex, maybe even that they have sex on the brain, but that’s about it. We never stop to understand that men have drastically different views  of sex than women. If women could begin to fully understand male sexuality, marriages could be transformed. It is that important.
Women who have been married only a month can testify to the fact that men are very visual. They can also testify to the second component of male sexuality: the immediate arousal of a man. Woman (although not all women) tend to more  like steam engines, as you add heat, they slowly speed up and gain momentum. Men tend to be more like sports cars–0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds.
The third point of male sexuality, however, is the male’s tendency to sexually objectify women. I don’t like thinking about this one. This area of male sexuality is where men can begin to look more like pigs than men. We can be quick to call men chauvinistic and the like, but not so when we consider the first two points:
If men are extremely visual and experience immediate arousal, it follows that they would also naturally see women as sex objects. This does not mean all men see allwomen as sex objects all the time. A man who is sexually fulfilled in a committed and loving marriage, I do not think is walking around objectifying women, but left to his own devices, he might be.
The goal for women is to understand that sexual objectification of women, by men, is natural. However, that does not mean it’s acceptable or necessary. The goal for a man, on the other hand, is to become more emotionally attached and connected to the woman he loves, so that he does not objectify her–or any other woman, for that matter.
Then we get into the male need for sexual variety. Wives especially do not like this area of discussion. I sure don’t. I don’t want my husband seeking out or experiencing “variety.” I want him to come home and experience his boring ‘ol wife every single day for the rest of his life. Hmm… see the conflict there? Men tend to sexually desire lots of different women. However, men sacrifice this  desire for variety and instead choose to commit themselves to one woman for the rest of their life in marriage. The desire for variety does not go away. The acting upon it does.
A wife’s response should be acknowledgment of this fact and thankfulness that he chose one woman to spend forever with–you. I know this might sound archaic, but it is true. A faithful married man is a treasure and a blessing, especially in a world so fraught with divorce and infidelity.
With this in mind, a wife’s response should also be to add variety. Do not be the boring ol’ wife. Be the confident, sexually comfortable, up-for-new things-and-not-the-same-old-bedroom-routine-wife. Be his sexual variety.
Lastly, men are aroused by genital contact, whereas women are more so aroused by emotional connectedness. This one is free for all my fellas out there: If you had an argument, any kind of bickering or disagreement in the last 24 hours with your wife, don’t expect sex unless those things have been resolved. Women want to feel like they are loved before sex. Men feel loved because of sex.
My hope for this post is to have men and women, husbands and wives, openly discuss their sexuality and how it affects their relationships as a whole. My other hope is that wives will take time to understand their husband’s sexual needs and wants, not chastise or judge them for it, and then use that knowledge to improve their sex life.
A good sex life is just like a good marriage. Faith aside, it is built upon trust and communication… and a little adventurous fun never hurt anyone, either.
If you’re a woman, have you embraced–or denied–these facts? What do you do to help you remember these things? If you’re a man, do you feel your wife understands your needs? What else would you add to the conversation?
And if you like this post be sure to check out Part 2, written by my very own husband, Jonathan, on how my understanding of his sexual nature has affected our marriage

Monday, January 25, 2016

Making Time for Making Love

Practical tips for a satisfying sex life
Making Time for Making Love
After a long day of taking care of three little boys, cooking, cleaning, and juggling work responsibilities, it was my time to rest. I ignored the subtle flirtations of my husband, Mike, hoping he would get the hint that I was not in the mood. I had reached the finish line.

As we were getting ready for bed, I changed into my PJs and he caught a glimpse of flesh. He looked at me amorously as if the act of changing my clothes was an invitation. I faced a fork in the road: Would I "do my wifely duty," or tell Mike what I was really thinking? I responded with a compromise: "We can do it as long as I don't have to be awake."
If this only happened once in a blue moon, our marriage could weather the storm. However, scenes like this were regular occurrences during our busy years of babies and toddlers. I began to dread sex. Although I loved my husband, I resented that he wanted my body and was encroaching on my rare moments of free time. I remembered hearing that sex was supposed to be a gift from God to a married couple. Frankly, I wanted a gift receipt so I could exchange it for something more useful.
Many young moms can relate to this scenario, as the number one barrier to sexual enjoyment for women is a lack of time and energy. Men often don't understand the mammoth endeavor it can be to switch from mommy mode to lover— who has time for sex when a screaming child is in the next room and dirty dishes are piled in the sink?

Why you can't put sex on the back burner

Study after study shows that sexual satisfaction and a healthy marriage go together. From a woman's perspective, we think, "Of course! If the marriage is good, the sex will be too." Men have a different approach: "How could marriage be good without great sex?" According to recent research, the guys actually have a point.
Oxytocin is the powerful bonding hormone that flows through your body in mass quantities when you have a baby. Oxytocin helps you to feel connected to your baby so you can endure the crazy years of toddlerhood. The power of oxytocin makes your baby the most beautiful creature in the world to you. Women have varying levels of oxytocin running through their bodies at any given time. You may get a surge of it when you have an intimate conversation with a friend or when your husband gives you a backrub.
Men are less endowed in the oxytocin department. Your husband will only have huge surges of the hormone at one time—after orgasm. Have you ever noticed that he acts more in love with you after sex? He thinks you are gorgeous with your hair sticking up and your morning breath. That's oxytocin!
I need my husband to be bonded with me. I need his attention and his help with the demands of children and life. God has designed a way for this to happen through sexual intercourse. It truly is how many men feel closest to their wives. Understanding the power of the chemicals involved in sex has given me a new appreciation for how critical it is to the health of our marriage. When I sense tension between my husband and me I often think, "That man needs some oxytocin!"
Yet, with all this information, it may seem like a monumental task to make sex a priority in your marriage. You may have legitimate barriers to overcome like body image issues, deep conflict with your husband, broken trust, wounds from sexual trauma or physical pain during sex. I don't want to make light of these painful circumstances. But often, great sex doesn't happen because it's simply not a priority.

How to make time for making love

Although you may never feel as tired as you do as a young mom, there will always be some reason to neglect sex in your marriage. Like anything else, it won't get better until you determine to change some things. Busy women find time to do what they deem important. They work out, go to Bible studies, volunteer in the classroom, and create elaborate scrapbooks. Is it time for you to make sex a priority? If so, here are some ways to make that happen.
1) Schedule sex
This might sound like the most unromantic idea on the planet, but spontaneous sex rarely happens in the busy years of raising kids. You need time to get your mind and body prepared to be intimate with your husband. If you simply wait until bedtime, the chances of you both being ready with energy at the same time are slim to none.
Couples "schedule sex" in different ways. Some actually put it on the calendar one to three times a week. Other couples agree that each of them will initiate at least once a week. My husband and I had a code word that he would use meaning, "Let's have sex sometime in the next 24 hours." Then I had the freedom to initiate within that time frame when it was good for me.
2) Think about sex
The bestselling book series Fifty Shades of Grey has proven one thing: women want to think about sex and feel sexually stimulated. I've read the series, and want you to know, please don't fall into the trap of erotica. It is pornography for women. Porn and erotica cause you to share your body with your husband, but stay hidden from him in your own secret fantasies.
A holy, erotic book called The Song of Solomon gives a Christian woman permission to fantasize and think about being sexual with her husband in a way that honors God. When you understand the symbolism of the book, you will be surprised by how specific, steamy, and erotic this book is—and it's in the Bible! If you are married, God wants you to think about sex, but to keep your fantasies and thoughts geared only toward your husband. The brain is the most powerful sex organ, especially for women.
3) Pray about Sex
God cares about your sex life. He understands the devastation of finding out your husband is looking at porn or has no interest in sex. He knows the pain of sexual trauma. He even cares about your exhaustion or depression. As a clinical psychologist, I've worked with many women through such barriers. While counseling can be a step in healing, God is the ultimate healer.
If your husband is willing, get on your knees together once a week and ask God to show you how to love each other sexually. Ask him to help you work through the barriers that cause division between you.
There are a lot of great things you can give your kids, but nothing compares to the foundation of growing up in a home in which mom and dad love each other. You may be sacrificing time and money to take them to play groups, sporting events, and music lessons, but remember: never work hard at being a mom at the expense of having a thriving marriage.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

85 Beautiful Ways To Make Your Marriage Last Forever

By Katelyn Carmen
I asked 85 women to share the best marriage advice they ever received. Their answers will warm your heart.
When the party is over, and you drive away with a "Just Married" sign slapped on the back of your car, you find yourself journeying into the most beautiful, exciting, heart-wrenching and complicated adventure you've ever had in your life.
Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive marriage manual with all the answers. However, there are plenty of people who have successfully navigated through 1-50 years of marriage who have a wealth of wisdom.
As a young, married woman, I love talking with couples who have happy, strong marriages. I want to know what they did to build a solid foundation. I want to know how I can build a relationship that will last forever.
I asked 85 women on social media what the best marriage advice they ever received is, and this is what they shared:
  1. Don't compare your marriage to other marriages.
  2. Marriage isn't about thinking alike, but learning to think well together.
  3. Communicate via voice, video and physical contact. Cut back on messaging. Your prime communication method should not be texting.
  4. Ask your spouse, "What can I do for you today?" every single day.
  5. Show your spouse appreciation for the little things.
  6. Kiss each other goodnight, every single night.
  7. Only flirt with your spouse. But do it well, and do it often.
  8. "Thou shalt not nag."
  9. Never lose your sense of humor.
  10. Talk openly about finances, goals and dreams.
  11. Your husband isn't a mind reader. Tell him what you want. Don't make him guess.
  12. Fight naked.
  13. Look beyond yourself at the bigger picture. Where do you want your family to be in 20 years?
  14. Marriage takes three people: you, your spouse and God. Don't leave any one of those people out.
  15. Put your marriage and spouse before your children.
  16. Say, "I love you," every single day.
  17. Treat your spouse like the person he or she has the potential to be.
  18. H.A.L.T.: If you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired, stop the discussion and fix those things first.
  19. Don't expect your spouse to do something around the house unless you ask him or her to do it. Assuming always causes problems.
  20. Remember, you can't change your spouse. You can only change yourself.
  21. Keep dating each other.
  22. Pray together every single day. Tell God about all the reasons why you love your spouse.
  23. Don't search for the perfect person. Be the perfect person.
  24. Marriage is not 50/50. It's 100/100. Give yourself entirely, and don't hold back.
  25. Let go of expectations.
  26. Keep your married life between you and your spouse.
  27. Genuinely compliment your spouse on a regular basis.
  28. Say, "thank you" to your spouse often.
  29. Be slow to criticize. Love your spouse despite his or her faults, and he or she will do the same for you.
  30. Never lose faith, and never give up on God.
  31. Brag about your spouse to your friends -- when he or she is listening and when he or she isn't.
  32. Communication, communication, communication!
  33. Don't just marry someone you can live with. Marry the person that you can't live without.
  34. Build a strong foundation, so when things get bad, you have something to fall back on.
  35. Work hard and be ambitious.
  36. Never criticize your spouse's family.
  37. Keep a united front, especially with your children. Never pit your kids against your spouse.
  38. Remember that you chose your spouse for forever.
  39. If something in your relationship is broken, don't throw it away; fix it.
  40. Don't make mountains out of mole hills. Don't waste your time fighting over little things. It's not worth it. Let small things go.
  41. Always be kind. Kindness goes a long way.
  42. Take the time to serve one another, no matter how tired or worn out you may be. Those little acts make a huge difference.
  43. No matter how he or she loads the dishwasher, it is always the right way.
  44. Never withhold sex as a punishment.
  45. Don't broadcast your problems to everyone else. If you need to talk to someone about it, other than your spouse, get a therapist.
  46. Strengthen each other's weaknesses.
  47. Be open and honest about your feelings.
  48. Listen without being defensive.
  49. Focus on making your spouse happy.
  50. Don't marry someone thinking that you'll change him or her.
  51. Don't try to manipulate or control situations.
  52. Pray for your spouse daily in your personal prayers. Be specific. Talk to God about his or her challenges and trials, and ask Him what you can do to be a better spouse.
  53. Trust in God.
  54. Keep the word "divorce" out of your vocabulary.
  55. Never make a big decision when you're angry.
  56. Accept the quirky things your spouse does. Deep down, those are probably the things that you would miss the most if they were gone.
  57. At least once a day, think about at least one of the reasons why you chose to marry your spouse.
  58. Don't keep score.
  59. Be quick to forgive and slow to anger.
  60. Love is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Choose both every day.
  61. Understand that it's OK to have a difference of opinion. Everyone has unsolvable problems in marriage. The only difference between happy and unhappy couples is how they handle them.
  62. Celebrate both the little and big joys in life.
  63. Have lots of sex.
  64. One day you'll wake up next to your spouse and think, "YUCK!" Understand that it's normal, and it will go away.
  65. Make your spouse your best friend.
  66. Respect your mother-in-law, no matter how hard it is.
  67. Be quick to forgive and quicker to apologize.
  68. Always assume the best.
  69. Remember your vows. Review them on a regular basis.
  70. It doesn't matter who is right, but what is right.
  71. Never talk bad about your spouse to other people. Protect him or her and always keep his or her name safe.
  72. Remember, your spouse's feelings should come before everyone else's. That includes your best friends, co-workers and parents.
  73. Don't be selfish.
  74. Kiss passionately. Hold hands. Cuddle. Make physical affection a priority in your marriage.
  75. Rely on each other, and not on other people.
  76. Love the person you married, not the person you hoped you married.
  77. Be yourself.
  78. Fight for each other, not with each other.
  79. Never forget that marriage needs continual maintenance.
  80. Spoil each other. Keep track of the things your spouse loves and buy them for him or her.
  81. When you're wrong, admit it. When you're right, don't rub it in their face.
  82. Choose each other every day.
  83. Create your own traditions together.
  84. Go to bed, and sleep it off. Chances are, things will feel a lot better in the morning.
  85. Just love him or her.
Imperfect people can create strong marriages, and they do, every day. It is possible! Although marriage is hard, it's also a thrilling experience, and the most important relationship you'll ever cultivate.