The Downside of a Routine

Hi everyone! So…you know how you have one of those days? Well, mine was yesterday! I am sorry I missed you. Please forgive me. 😊

How are you? I hope you enjoyed your weekend. It’s countdown to Christmas and I am happy about it. My children will be ecstatic to see what they have been blessed with this year and my husband and I are grateful that we can bless them. We are also grateful to be upon our thirteenth wedding anniversary. Let me know if you’re tired of hearing this…LOL

I love having a routine. It helps to keep me focused and on task. If I don’t have a daily routine, it is easy for me to slip into procrastination and many things would fall to the wayside. I have been in a routine since I was very young. I can remember being ten years old and getting up early and beginning my day. I still get up early each day, but what’s changed is having a husband, children, job, blog, and everything else.

Having a routine in marriage is helpful too. Planning routine getaways and date nights will help to keep your marriage on the right track. However, if a negative routine develops, it can drain the life and fun out of your marriage.

Almost two years ago, my husband and I moved from Philadelphia to Georgia. It was a big move for us. The routine in my household completely changed because of the move. I went from working full-time as a manager to working from home part-time and caring for my children full-time (PRAY FOR ME). There have been so many changes, that my marriage kind of fell into a rut.

Things were splendid the first few months after our move. We were walking on cloud-nine; happy about our move, our home, neighborhood and our new beginning God promised. However, a few months later, I noticed my patience was much shorter. My husband was working longer hours, but I thought no big deal he has to work. Then I noticed I was more annoyed and began complaining. Next, my husband who is very patient, came home irritable. I thought “No problem, he’s probably tired, from working more than usual.” Finally, after three weeks of this behavior, we had a disagreement. At the end of it, we kind of sat there in a daze like, “What just happened?” And, what was this really about? Instantly, we realized by way of the Holy Spirit, that we were not spending enough time together. Both of us got so focused on our move, and our new routine, we forgot about keeping each other first.

After fifteen years of being together, we enjoy spending time together often, yet the one thing we enjoy doing most was the one thing we neglected to do. I was praying, but I  was not paying attention because I allowed the outside to affect the inside.

Song of Solomon 2:15 – “Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!”

I am grateful we were able to recognize it before it caused real damage to our marriage.

As married people, we must know the cycle of our relationship. We must be careful not to develop an unhealthy routine. For some couples, a weekly date night is imperative to keep the fires flowing. For other couples, physical touch is a way to keep intimacy. For many, sexual intimacy must be kept at the top of the list, to avoid issues. Every marriage is different, and you must know what works for you.

My husband and I love to get away. One of my marital goals for the New Year is to make sure we take time to getaway consistently. This is the positive routine I plan on implementing, and January 14, 2019 will be the beginning. My other goal is to make sure I do not allow outside influences to dictate the routine of my marriage.

Do you have any marital goals for the New Year?

Blessings.

 

 

Photo by Scott Walsh on Unsplash

I will never forget my first or my second

Hello everyone. I hope you had a great weekend! Can you believe it’s December? Twenty-two days until Christmas. It is unbelievable how fast the year went by. Are you looking forward to the new year? I am excited for the opportunity to start over. I am ready to accomplish the natural and spiritual goals I’ve set for myself. I am also looking forward to my 13th wedding anniversary. Lord, thank you.

As a ponder over the past twelve years, I am in awe of God’s grace. My husband and I have experienced extreme highs and unbelievable lows, but we did it and stayed together. My marriage was the first positive relationship in my life. Actually, my husband was my first in many ways.

Let me backtrack a bit. God was my first. He was the first person I learned loved me exactly the way I was. As a child, I never had anyone love me that way. Whenever I made a mistake I trembled with fear of harsh reprimand. When it came to God, I was also fearful because I thought if I messed up, he would turn his back on me. However, the day I came into the realization of God’s love for me, it changed my life. I finally understood there was nothing I could do to get God to stop loving me.

After walking with God for several years, I was very secure in his love for me, but I struggled with believing he could send me someone who could love me just the same. I never expressed those feelings to God, but I am so glad he knows the secrets and desires of our hearts.

Psalms 139: 1-2 “Lord, you have examined me and know all about me. You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know my thoughts before I think them.”

Years later, God answered my heart’s desire and sent me a physical example of unconditional love when he brought my husband into my life. I had been healed from so much pain, but there was still some unresolved trauma I was not aware of. It was not until after I married, that those issues resurfaced.  My husband loved me through it all.

The Lord was my first spiritual example of true love and my husband was my spiritual and physical example! Through all of my ups and downs, my husband loved me as Christ loved the church…unconditionally. Sure, we had other issues that had nothing to do with my trauma, but we learned to work through all of it, allowing God to be the third cord in our marriage.

Ecclesiastes 4:12A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (NLT).

The relationship with my husband taught me how to persevere, sacrifice, and endure; especially when things did not go my way. When you think about it, it is similar to the relationship we have with the Father. We endure trials, tests and hardship, but at the end of it all, we win.

James 2:12 – “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (ESV).

God was my first. He loved me, healed me and set me free. My husband was my second. The person God sent to aid in my remaining healing process.

Before dating and most certainly before we wed, it is important we are healed from past issues, otherwise, we will bring those issues into your relationship as I did. However, God is so merciful and full of wisdom that He knew who to send to aid in my healing process. That is His unconditional love. My FIRST love, before I knew that HE was.

God bless you.

 

Photo by Asaf R on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Marriage journey…again

Hello everyone,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with love, laughter and most of all thankfulness. I truly love this season. November is a time to be thankful. December is a time to celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. And my personal favorite, January, is a time to reflect and celebrate my upcoming wedding anniversary!

On January 14, 2019, I’ll be married for 13 years. YAY! For some people, this may not seem like much, but for me, it means a lot. There was a time I did not think we would make it, BUT God!

A few months back, I discussed the 12 lessons I learned in twelve years of marriage. I received a lot of positive feedback, and I pray my sharing was a blessing to those of you who are married and for those of you who desire to be.

However, as I reflect on my almost 13 years of marriage, I have learned another major lesson. The lesson I have learned is…

Lesson 13. – I am still a work in progress…

Philippians 1:6: …“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (NLT).

With all that God has allowed me to learn in my marriage, I still have a lot to learn. I still have areas that need changing. I still need to learn patience. Though I listen to the Holy Spirit, (most of the time), I still need to watch what I say.

A few years ago, knowing this would have made me feel defeated. But now, I feel grateful. I am not the person I was at the beginning of my marriage. I am excited to share in this journey with the man God blessed me with, and I am thankful I still have the opportunity to get it right. Glory to our God!

My husband and I, like all married couples, faced many difficult challenges. But I would not change any part of our journey. It is what makes us unique, and it is what makes us sensitive to other married couples.

When I finished my Marriage Lessons blog posts, I was happy to move on to the next subject. But the subject of marriage stayed on my heart. Therefore, if God sees fit to use me to speak on the subject, I will submit to his will and trust the process. It is not because I know everything, but because the lessons I have learned, in part, saved my marriage.

Marriage is the one relationship that is meant to mirror Christ, yet many marriages do not. My husband and I are much better than we were twelve years ago, but as I mentioned, each of us are a work in progress. It is my hope and prayer that by sharing my journey once again, you will begin to desire the type of marriage God intended.

As my anniversary approaches, I hope you don’t mind if I share my journey with you. The journey of my work in progress that will lead to our 13th wedding anniversary and beyond!

Blessings.

Marriage Lessons- Week 12

I am overjoyed. This is the final week of the Marriage Lessons. God is so good. I have been encouraged and uplifted as you have read, liked, commented, and followed my posts. I am grateful for every obstacle I faced in my marriage; whether it was my fault or just our journey. God has once again proven himself to be faithful. Today’s final lesson in the series is…

Lesson 12. NEVER GIVE UP

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR MARRIAGE. Sometimes this is easier said than done. When I look back over the most tumultuous circumstances my husband and I faced, I am grateful we trusted God and walked through it. Sure, I did not feel that way while experiencing it, but I am better for it and so is my marriage. Those trials made us stronger as individuals. Our faith was made stronger and our commitment to each other deepened. Your marriage is worth fighting for. Your children are worth fighting for. If no one else is on your side, God is! Ask him for help, ask him for guidance, and ask Him for grace to get you through…when you don’t want to.

The scripture I leave with you today is found in Romans 12:12 and it says, Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

My Marriage Lesson & Your Lesson
1. Never give up

Scripture:
Romans 12:12

Now, let’s recap on the eleven lessons discussed over the past twelve weeks….

Marriage Lessons-(12-week-series) Week 10

This is week ten of the Marriage Lessons. The lessons are wrapping up quickly. I hope you are being encouraged!

Lesson 10 – Sexual intimacy is a special part of your marriage-ORDAINED BY GOD-…keep it alive

Before marriage, most of us are excited about the intimacy. We look forward to date nights, romantics trysts and everything in between. In my opinion, it seems intimacy would be the easiest aspect of marriage; however, for many reasons, it is not. For most, the beginning is wonderful and full of excitement. But, over time that excitement can fizzle. This can happen because of children, careers, or anything. But to be honest, nothing should get in the way of the intimate aspect of your marriage.

Before I married my husband, we discussed this part of our marriage and what we expected of each other.  We were very excited about what was to come. However, I never considered how difficult making time for intimacy could be. One of our biggest obstacles was blending our families. Before marriage, my husband had two sons ages six and ten and I had one son age eight. His youngest son did not live with us, however, he visited bi-weekly and was autistic. This entire dynamic (that I signed up for) added another layer of stress I did not expect.

There were times I was so exhausted by the time nightfall came, intimacy was out of the question. Not to mention working full-time as well as outside activities. We were eager to be with each other regularly, but there was so much stress dealing with our circumstances that we were both drained. We took time to get away, but for us, it was not enough. After our second year, I realized this part of our marriage was declining and I was not pleased with it and neither was God.

Looking back, I realize no one shared how difficult this part of your marriage could be no matter what the reason. Maybe I could have been prepared (probably not).

Perhaps your issue is not blending your family but making time for your spouse. Maybe you place your job/career ahead of your marriage. Maybe your ministry is first and not your spouse. Perhaps you and your spouse currently do not see eye to eye. Whatever the reason, if you do not take care of this part of your relationship…YOUR MARRIAGE WILL SUFFER because you will give room for the enemy to come in.

So…what do you do if this happens in your marriage? First, pray…ask God to help you and to forgive you. The Bible says in I Corinthians 7:3-5, “The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.”
I encourage you to read the entire scripture here.

Second, have an open and honest discussion with your spouse. Communicate your emotions and pray together. Ask God to help you get back on track. Finally, go back to the beginning. Remember when you could not stay away from each other? You talked on the phone all night, took walks, went on as many dates as you could, spent all your time together, and enjoyed each other’s company. Go back to that! It may not be easy depending on how long you allowed issues and circumstances to overshadow the intimacy, but work at it! Don’t give up! It took time to dig the hole and it will take time to dig out of it. Stay with God and stay with each other and you will reap the benefits.

My Marriage Lesson & Your Marriage Lesson
1. Work at keeping the intimacy alive (if you are not careful, it can die)
2. Keep it fun…keep it spicy
3. Pray when the intimacy is good and when it is not so good (either way, you’re keeping God involved)
4. Counseling is your friend…embrace it; especially if the intimacy in your marriage has gone too far off track

Scriptures
I Corinthians 7:3-5
Proverbs 5:19
Hebrews 13:4

Marriage Lessons-(12 week series)-Week 9

Hello everyone! I hope you had a great weekend!! Today is week nine of the Marriage Lessons. Last weeks lesson focused on “A nagging wife.” I hope you will read it.

Lesson 9. Communication is a skill and you must learn to master it daily

Communication definition: the imparting or exchanging of information or news

Fifteen years ago, when my husband and I were in marriage counseling, our counselors asked me a question. They asked, “How will I work things out when there is a conflict?” I remember saying “By communicating.” Their response was “Communication works both ways.” “And what will you do if you communicate differently?” I recall thinking, “That won’t be a problem for us, we always talk to each other.” After year one of marriage, I realized talking and communicating was two different things. Talking to each other was very easy, however, communicating our emotions meant going beyond the surface; something which was difficult for us.

Effective communication avoids confusion, misunderstandings, and conflict. In school, we learn subjects such as reading, writing, and arithmetic; however, we are not taught how to effectively communicate. In most cases communication is a skill that enhances over time with practice and patience.

My husband and I communicated poorly. In some ways, communicating was more of a challenge for me as I was still overcoming the effects of abuse from my childhood.

One of the first times we experienced a miscommunication was within the first few weeks of our marriage.  Usually, when I came home from work, I changed out of my work clothes and sat down for a few minutes to gather myself before cooking. One day, I was sitting on the couch when my husband walked in. He came in, gave me a kiss and went into the kitchen. I did not think much of it until I heard pots and pans. I walked into the kitchen and asked, “Are you making dinner?” He said “Yes.” I immediately got upset and walked out of the kitchen. Later that night, he noticed I was quiet and asked if I was okay. I did not want to talk about it, but I did anyway (internalizing). I said, “You made me feel like a bad wife when you went into the kitchen to cook.”  “You made it seem as if I was taking too long.” He looked at me and said, “That is not what I was thinking.” He said, “My process when I come home is to go directly into the kitchen to begin cooking.” He told me he had been doing things this way since becoming a single father.

It was at that moment I realized I needed to deal with my emotions as well as communicate what I felt instead of shutting down. I am grateful we were able to resolve the issue quickly. We learned we needed to discuss our expectations of each other to avoid other issues.

On a daily basis, we continuously work on communicating our emotions. I learned it is important to say what you mean and mean what you say. Sometimes as wives, we expect our husband to read our minds, which is a mistake because they can’t. As I learned, communication goes two ways. I encourage you to communicate with your spouse. Express your emotions, be clear, be direct. Matthew 5:37 says, Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”

My Marriage Lesson & Your Marriage Lesson

  1. Discuss your expectations to each other at the beginning
  2. Be clear and direct in your communication
  3. If you or your spouse has trouble communicating, ask God to help you (He will)

Scriptures
Matthew 5:37
Proverbs 25:11

Marriage Lessons (12-week series)-Week 6

Hello Friends! It is week six of the Marriage Lessons!  Below is this weeks lesson. If you missed it, please read last week’s lesson titled Your marriage should be first…

Lesson 6. Your marriage should be private (with some exceptions)

Every marriage has problems and your job is to submit those problems to the Lord, not to share them with friends, family, co-workers, or your parents. Sometimes sharing your private matters can be a detrimental mistake. In some instances, after you share certain details about your spouse, the individual may have a different and negative perspective about him.

Keeping your marriage private is a lesson I learned very early in my marriage. Before my husband and I wed, we faced some financial obstacles in preparing for the wedding. I shared some of the details with a few people helping me with my wedding and thought that was as far as the conversation would go. A few weeks later, someone that I never speak with approached me and said, “don’t worry about the financial issues you had, you’re married now.” I was in complete shock! I said to myself NEVER AGAIN. I learned if you cannot trust someone with an insignificant issue, you certainly cannot trust them with an important one.

After some time, I realized there were exceptions. There were times I needed advice and sometimes I needed to vent.  In those instances, I learned to ask God for wisdom about who to talk with. James 1:5 says, “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” It took a while, but God showed me who I could speak with and who I could trust.

**If you are being threatened or harmed in any way, it is imperative that you seek help immediately. Your life is more important than keeping a secret that threatens your life.

If your situation is critical, and you must speak with someone sooner rather than later, professional counseling is another option. Professional counselors take an oath not to share your information.

As a Christian married couple, it is important to have someone you can confide in. The bible tells us in Galatians 6:2, “carry each other’s burdens and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” As believers, we need each other. God does not desire that we go through every situation alone, but the key is seeking God about who you desire to help you carry your burdens.

My Marriage Lesson and Your Marriage Lesson
1. Keep your marriage private
2. Seek God for wisdom about who to speak with
3. Professional Counseling is okay

Scriptures:
Proverbs 11:14
Proverbs 27:17
Galatians 6:2
James 5:16