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Wife Lessons 101

Introduction: I haven’t written a post in a long while for I have been slowly writing this. I know it is a lengthy read; I have been wanting to share the lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn; but if your desire is to have a great marriage then it won’t seem that long.

I have been blessed to be married to the best man EVER for 38 years now. And it only gets better with time. There have been a lot of wise women through the years that have inspired and have given me invaluable wisdom regarding the marriage relationship, including my own mom; and to you all, I give thanks. And to the Lord my God, my greatest thanks for His continuing grace and mercy and blessings for my marriage and my family.

1.The “Two” become “One”:  Other than our relationship with the Lord. The next relationship that God established was the marriage relationship.  He has given us this relationship that we may see a preview of our relationship with Him as bride of Christ and He, the bridegroom. Yet, look at the divorce rate within the church.  Our enemy, Satan knows if he can destroy a marriage, he can begin to tear down the whole of society.  You must guard your marriage relationship.   It is your number one job to protect that relationship. If someone came up against you personally, spoke against you, tried to hurt you, attempted to malign your character; would you not stand up for yourself and defend yourself.  Well, the same goes for your husband, they are “one” with you in God’s eyes, so you must rise to their defense.  More importantly you must guard yourself from issuing those same attacks on him.   Never speak against your spouse to another person. No “husband- bashing” with your friends.  Never talk down to or correct your spouse in front of others.  There can be a time and place for working through your disagreements, the public arena is not such place.

Eph. 5:31  FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.

Side note: It is important to note that you must be a whole person in yourself – by that I mean you must be content in who you are as a person. If you are waiting for Mr. Right to make you happy…you never will be. Not that we should ever stop striving to better ourselves personally but the only way you will feel fulfilled in a relationship with your spouse is by entering into it being fulfilled in who you are in your relationship with Christ.

2. R-E-S-P-E-C-T:   Not the Aretha Franklin version…but the biblical version.       Eph 5:33  But it also applies to you: every husband must love his wife as himself, and every wife must respect her husband.   Yes, there is the husband side to this, we’ll get to that later in another article. This goes along with number 1.  I don’t claim to understand it all but the need for respect is in a man’s DNA; it is part of what makes them want to get up and face the day and if you do not give him the respect he deserves he will look for it from friends, fellow workers, or (ouch!) other women. You may think “respect has to earned”… yet, obey the Word of God…give respect and his love will grow! Criticism and complaining kills respect.

Prov. 15:4  Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit

3. A Three Strand Cord:  It takes THREE to make a marriage work…him, you and the Lord.  It is amazing, the unity that can come to a marriage as you involve the Lord in it.  Pray together, especially over major decisions, but even the minor ones too.  I can not think of any other way that will keep a marriage growing strong and moving in the same direction then when you keep the Lord first and foremost in your relationship.    Eccl. 4:12  And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.  Jesus put the needs of others first before his own…when we follow that example and put our spouses needs first that is where you “two” begin to truly grow into “one”.

4. Kindness is Contagious:  Prov. 11:17  You do yourself a favor when you are kind. If you are cruel, you only hurt yourself.  Just like a bad cold; kindness is contagious.  Using words like…”Please”, “Thank you”, “I really appreciate that”, “May I help you”, etc.  It is amazing how manners do matter and how they do spread from one person to another; but unfortunately crabbiness and nastiness are just as infectious. And it starts from the top down…so it trickles down and affects the whole family.

Prov. 10:32  Righteous people know the kind thing to say, but the wicked are always saying things that hurt.

Eph. 4:29  Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.

5. Practice being a fruit:  the fruit of the Spirit that is…

Gal 5:22-23  But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these.

I heard it said once, I think, by Joyce Meyers that  the first aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is “Love” and the last “Self-control”, which are like book ends that when these two are practiced the rest are held in place and develop as well.  We can make the daily choice to practice these with each other or make the choice to do the opposite; but the question is what kind of fruit do you want to be known for?

Matt. 12:33  “To have good fruit you must have a healthy tree; if you have a poor tree, you will have bad fruit. A tree is known by the kind of fruit it bears.

6. Don’t be a leaky faucet: There are times when you need things done and you need your husband’s help to do it. Politely ask him. And possibly if needed a gentle reminder…we all forget to do things at one time or another. But do not nag!  It will not accomplish anything but rebellion and delay. And a big bold “honey do” list on the fridge can equal nagging unless he ask for a list, then just jot down the more urgent things to do.  And when he does help with things, be thankful and do not, I repeat, do not follow behind him and redo what he did (me…myself: guilty as charged!).  It is a quick way to get him not to want to help again. They do know what needs to be done…give them the credit they deserve. Be an assistant not a hindrance.

1 Peter 3:4  Instead, your beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of the greatest value in God’s sight.

Proverbs 27:15  A nagging wife is like water going drip-drip-drip on a rainy day.

Prov. 15:1  A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

7. Leave the Past in the Past:  Bringing up the past…”You always do/say that”…always leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing. It can help us move beyond hurt and pain of the past. When things are said that hurt you – say “when you said that, it made me feel…”.  This way you are not pointing fingers but simply expressing your feelings. You can work through many a problem starting from a place of forgiveness. Forgiveness brings freedom; especially forgiveness from the Lord; look at what Jesus said in: Matt. 6:14-15  “If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done. This is one of the “Ouch” verses…yet as always obedience to it brings blessing and restoration to relationships.

1Cor. 13:5  love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs.

Prov. 17:9  You will keep your friends if you forgive them, but you will lose your friends if you keep talking about what they did wrong.

8. No name calling: “Stick and Stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” Baloney! A person’s name can define their life for good or bad.  When you call someone a name continually they will live up to that name…good or bad.  What would you rather live up to  “Lazy”, “Good-for-nothing”, “Useless”  or  “Gorgeous”, “Handsome”, “One-in-a-million” and “Blessed”? The words we speak create life…what kind of life are you speaking over your spouse? Over your family? Here is another “ouch” verse:

Matt. 5:22  “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

Proverbs 18:21  What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.

9. Give him space: Your husband may at times have the weight of the world on his back – it may be situations at work; it may be the checkbook with the lack of funds in it; whatever it is – just give him space. Let him watch the his sporting event without interruption, or go for a run, or shoots some hoops or have a quiet time with the Lord. Let him have time to process quietly what he is dealing with…in the meantime lift him up in prayer. Ask the Lord to lighten his burden, to give him wisdom and creativity to sort through the problem, and to lead him to the wise counsel of other Godly men.  I have seen it time and time again that when you lift him up in prayer God blesses him with ideas and answers and the Lord usually confirms those answers to you…again strengthening that the two are one.

Eccl. 3:7b  A time to be silent and a time to speak.

Heb. 4:16  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

10. Submission is NOT a four-letter word:  First, to the Lord…James 4:7-8a  “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  God has a plan for each of our lives and as we turn our lives over to Him – He promises to guide our steps.

Prov. 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.  (If anyone knows me at all, they know I had to get this verse in here somewhere…it is my life verse, given to me by the Lord during a extremely stressful time in my life…it continually helps me to keep the right focus). Secondly, to your husband. It goes without saying that your husband must share the same faith as you. And as you pray for him to be the man of God that God intends him to be; then submission is not hard at all – for he is desiring to lead his family in the Lord, and as he trust in the Lord, the Lord will lead and guide your husband.

Eph 5:22-25  Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

11. Communication IS a four letter word…TALK:  You come together in marriage from different backgrounds, each carrying baggage that you may have not noticed during the honeymoon. But neither of you are mind-readers; it takes time and talking to learn about each other’s likes and dislikes; no matter how much you thought you had it all figured out before marriage.  Avoid the rapid-fire, dump-on of every thought and problem of your day. It may help to write out what you want to communicate; it comes out clearer when you take time to think through your words. Burying your thoughts and feelings deep inside usually leads to a volcanic erruption when you least expect it. You each are unique in how you communicate – you must continually try to find ways to understand each other; so it is a given that you ask the Lord for wisdom in how to communicate with each other. (Check out the “the Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman…truly great insights in helping to communicate with others. See other resources below.)

Prov. 2:6  For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Prov. 12:18  Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.

Eph 5:1-2  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

12. Mrs. Cleaver where are you?  You know the type…wears a dress, heels, and makeup; greets her husband at the door with a clean house and “a good meal” on the dining table. If she ever existed it was only on a sitcom from the 50’s.  Not that I have lived this out (especially the dress and heels); yet on occasion when I have been able to keep the kitchen sink empty, the laundry put away, and dinner ready when my hubby gets home…it is gratifying to see the look of thanksgiving and appreciation in his eyes. Yes, there are wives who work outside the home and/or have 2.5  or more children to raise…I have been there/done that…you do the best you can and ask the Lord for daily wisdom for creativity, strength, and grace and peace. Oh, and I forgot patience, lots of patience.  And remember when you pray for patience, the Lord usually gives you plenty of opportunities to put it into practice 🙂

Prov. 31:27-31  She is always busy and looks after her family’s needs. Her children show their appreciation, and her husband praises her. He says, “Many women are good wives, but you are the best of them all.”  Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the LORD should be praised. Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone.

I hope that these lessons I have learned may help you within your marriage.

Enjoy and be blessed, yours humbly, Judy R.

Proverbs 18:22  Find a wife and you find a good thing; it shows that the LORD is good to you.

P.S. There are some great resources out there for marriages. Here are a few of my favorites. The trick is not just to read it but put it in to practice.

Suggested Reading:

“The Holy Bible” by the Lord God Almighty

“A Woman after God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George

“The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman

“Love and Respect” by Emerson & Sarah Eggerichs

“A Mother’s Touch” and “A Mother’s Time” by Elise Arndt

Why is it that when i begin to write a “to do list” it always seems to grow and never get completed. Just when i determine i am going to accomplish everything on it, more things arise that need to go on the list.  and then there is the inevitable items on the list that you just don’t ever get around to or worse … don’t want to do at all!  I have never been so great at prioritizing or setting goals.  Is that from my personality of being an “S” ; “Blue”; “Beaver” (from all the different personality test out there) ?  Or is it that i have too much going on in my life and need to simplify?  Simplify:  that is my main reason i think i currently have so many items on my list for many of the items on my “TO DO LIST” are things i want to clear out and get rid of.   I just realized that as i am writing this i am not getting anything accomplished on my list …oh well… back to my list.  Any suggestions are welcome 🙂

January 1, 2015 –  As another year has come and gone in a blur and another new year is on the horizon –  i dust off this earlier post from 2009 (by the way where did that year go? ) for this year my “One word” is “INTENTIONAL”.

These are really good words that i want to pattern my life after.   Yet, to live by these i must make a choice daily, sometimes by moment by moment, to choose to live by them.  I must begin to plan my days out that they don’t escape me so that when i go to bed at night wonder, “where did the day go?”  I must choose to intentionally plan out my days, weeks, months to have balance and fulfillment instead of , “O Man, that year went by fast!”   I must intentionally set my alarm to get up earlier instead of just getting up when i awake no matter how late in the morning it is.   I must on purpose choose to eat right in the morning so that my metabolism doesn’t get out of balance for the rest of the day, to avoid those irritating highs and lows.  I must have planned healthy meals and exercise goals to keep physically and mentally sharp.   I must choose deliberately to do the little chores that if i did them when needed would only take a few minutes instead of letting them pile up into sinks full of dishes, mountains of unfolded laundry, and dust-bunnies the size of softballs…..i think you get the slightly exaggerated picture!  And so on and so on…. so where do i begin …..  I believe it comes down to what i am focused on.  Am i focused on me and my own comfort level or do i want to live each day with my life focused on Jesus, doing all for Him, living my life in Him for His glory?  I choose this day to focus on Jesus, listen and walk in the Spirit and to be determined and to highly resolve to BE INTENTIONAL to work out my life in balance to not be overwhelmed with it all.  Does this make sense?

And to add to this: To set and reach new goals in 5 areas of my life: spiritual, mental, physical, social, and stewardship; to work out my salvation in fear and trembling all for the glory in Christ Jesus and in the end to hear, “well done, thou good and faithful servant”.

People can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the lack of available time, but the will to set a priority for the time they have. Time can be the evidence that convicts our soul that our devotion has waned. What does the evidence of time tell you about yourself?   …… This quote was taken from an email i receive every sunday…. it really hit me today between the eyes.  How am i using my time?  Wisely or wastefully?  With the new year coming and the proverbial new years resolutions looming overhead …… i think what will i choose on purpose to spend my time on or will i let life make the choice for me?  how do you determine your time, goals, direction?  For me …. i’ll get back to you!

 I’m  back, was gone for awhile,  busy with life yet I have been noticing alot in the last year how when in general conversation with friends or family – what are they NOT talking about.  Not thinking of anyone in particular, and no names to protect the innocent; but i seem to hear what they are not talking about…like: divorce, death, hurts , pain, illness, heartache, family, life, careers, children, parents, pets, fears, loves…. whatever is buried inside that is just too hard to talk about. I’ve been trying to listen for what is not being said, and trying to remember to be sensitive to think first before i speak…. praying for wisdom to say an encouraging word that can touch their heart, that just maybe Jesus can use me to speak words of life and healing to those things that are not being said.   Does this make sense? What do you think?

Sand and Rest

Last week Harry and I took an awesome 3 day mini-vacation and  I just had to share some of the wonderful little insights that God blow me away with.  First off,  we went to Warren Dunes state park and we were climbing a sand dune that was 240 ft. high.  It was quite difficult walking in the sand, with each footstep sinking inches beneath the surface.  Harry and I were side by side as we struggled to climb the steep hill.   Then a thought came to me, ‘Why not walk behind Harry in his footsteps to see if it was any easier’.    Much to my surprise, it was 10 times easier.   The Lord immedieately impressed me with two thoughts:    1.  “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth.” Isaiah 45:2.  When I follow in His footsteps my life will go smoother, not without struggle , but definitely easier. ( Dee just helped me find the offical verse Number.)   2.  And that when I’m “In Christ”, I can rest from my works and trust in HIM!  (Heb.4:10).  Got a cool picture of it on my phone just got to figure out how to get it here.  more on the vacation later……

Graduation

Our awesome son Matt is graduating from Schoolcraft College Culinary Institute. We are so proud of him.  He has worked hard at all his classes and has done exceptionally and expectantly (is that a real word?) well.  Now I know this is going to sound so silly but it still blows my mind that my baby boy is growing up and graduating from college.  He found out today that if he finishes 6 more computer classes, he will also have two assoc. degrees in computers and computer networking ( i think i got that right  – if i  got it straight!).  And he just completed the lead role in a three act drama for the Summer Bible Adventure for kids at his church  – he is so natural at it – i wish you all could of seen him!
Chez Mateo

Chez Mateo

Now also sorta graduating from the ever-challanging world of the renters to the proud and keep you always busy and wallet always open life of home ownership are my wonderful daughter, super duper son-in-law, and two adorable QT Pie granddaughters!  Dee has moved out of our home four times.  First time: she left to get married.  Second time: Her and Daniel had lived with us for a short time to save up to go off to Bible school.  Third time: After coming back from Bible school they moved in and had  baby girl Emma.   And Fourth:  they just stayed with us a couple of weeks to wait for their closing on their new first home and they had Anna Bear this time too.  Now I’m am so excited for them and they are going to have such wonderful home for their little family, but did anyone notice the pattern: everytime Dee moved out she left with one more person!

Here is a Family foto  from our recent vacation.

It was awesome having the whole family together even if it was for such a short time.

Left to right: stupendous hubby Harry, Mr. GQ himsel: Eric, Anna Bear, me, Emma Pooh, amazing Cindy, lovely Lauren, darn right cute Daniel, shy yet super smart Luke, and darling Danielle.  ( marvelous Matt is missing – he had to leave early for the afore mentioned drama practice.)   Have you noticed that i just absolutely love adjectives?

For me and Papa Harry it continues to be very hard to keep having them leave us. We love them all sooooo much.  And I keep telling Matt he can never move out , that way I won’t have to go thru empty nest syndrome.

Anyway, i can’t help feeling like this has been a kind of graduation for me too.  I feel a deep sense of satisfaction  as a mom when i think i  (along with my loving hubby) must of done something right to see our children growing up and turning into self-confident responsible adults (whom i still love doing things for- my #1 spiritual gift is serving).

So what have you graduated from or to? I wonder!