August 17, 2011

Marriage Education

We strive to become better at everything we do. In our careers we are continually adding to our knowledge base and in some cases it is required in order for us to keep up with the growth pace of our jobs. In our hobbies we are constantly adding new classes or gadgets to make ourselves better at whatever we do. I know this first hand from observing my husband, Tim, in his fishing aspirations. If I mention making a trip to San Antonio He hears “let’s go to "Bass Pro" for fishing lures”. Even though he doesn't get to fish that often he wants to be prepared with the right tools when he does get to fish.   Recently a young woman shared with me how she had spent hours watching the Food network to learn how to cook Paella. She watched video upon video and eventually solicited a welder to create a Paella pan out of plow disc because the Paella pans were over priced online. She recently hauled her steel plow disc from Colorado to Texas for a family camping trip in order to practice her Paella technique over an open fire. I wish I could have been there to experience it with her! Sounds fun! I am always amazed at how much time, energy and resources we are willing to invest in the things that we deem important. Let's not even talk about our pets and the amount of resources they consume.  As you are reading this you might have your mind on a particular area of your life that you have invested in dearly to become better. Is it decorating, cycling, running, playing a musical instrument, or maybe a loftier pursuit like Bible study, education, or career?  
I know people who are very comfortable spending hundreds of dollars and entire weekends of their lives attending seminars to learn how to be better at their jobs or hobbies. Some of us treat our pets better than we treat our spouses...serving them without complaint and eager to meet their every need no matter the cost.
What if we invested in our marriage relationship with the fervor that we invest in our careers, hobbies, and pets? Why not consider a different perspective on marriage? A marriage doesn't just evolve. We have to be intentional about building a relationship. Some view a bit of pre-marital counseling as a bother and feel that if they attend, it should be enough marriage education for the rest of their lives. I hear couples who are in conflict refer back to the one marriage class they attended the first year of their marriage as though it should have equipped them for an entire lifetime together.

One reason I think people tend to avoid marriage investments is because of the level of emotional energy it requires. Let’s face it, most of us run on empty when it comes to emotional energy. We come into our marriage relationships with so many wounds from the past that we barely have enough emotional energy to get through the wedding. Ever heard of couples fighting on their wedding night? That’s what you call starting off in bankruptcy! 
When we are not whole, relationships make us tired. We consider time away with our spouse as draining. I had one wife say that they quit attending marriage seminars because they caused them to fight and their marriage was worse afterward. In reality, the seminar probably brought to the service things that were unresolved that needed to be addressed constructively. We have to be willing to press through the difficulty of the issues to gain the intimacy that is on the other side of the conflict.

Many of us rob ourselves of the fruitfulness that marriage has to offer. I know this from experience. Unfortunately, Tim and I have experienced all the previously mentioned. We have both chosen passivity when we should have been assertive. We have both been lazy about investing in each other. We have both had times where we gave our time and energy to something other than each other in our quest for fulfillment. I have been guilty of thinking the knowledge I obtained early on in our marriage should have sufficed for many years. We were so wrong!
Just like anything else our marriages will thrive when we invest heartily in them. We have to be willing to get passed the learning curve to the joy that is there when we find oneness. Marital harmony cannot be compared to anything else this life has to offer. The fulfillment and joy of oneness is worth all the effort required to obtain it.   
Tim and I have been married for thirty one years. We have been down some rocky roads. At times I wondered if we would make it. We pressed through the hardships and are currently in a season of joy. But, I must say that Tim and I are aware of the importance of continual investment, and continual growth. We know that we must prioritize our relationship in order to stay in balance. Can you imagine what your bank account would look like if you gave out more than you took in?

Where is your marriage today? Have you been investing? Are you living in fruitfulness? Is it time to reevaluate? We have all experienced the gamut of seasons a marriage relationship has to offer. There is nothing new under the sun. No matter where you find your relationship, there is always something else to learn. Why not move toward each other. Life is too short to spend it on less than the best. It’s your move. What will you do to honor God and grow?
Tim and I will be attending The Art of Marriage Seminar for the third time on September 9-10 at the Tom Green County Library’s Sugg Community Room. Yes, I said third time! It is that good! We invite you to attend with us!!!! You can register at Winning Families.

September 19, 2010

The Changing of The Season

I love the changing of the Seasons. I was thinking today about my relationship with Tim and the many seasons we have been through.

I wonder who this is?
 We have recently intentionally slowed our life pace…You wouldn’t believe it by looking at our calendars, but we have. We are more intentional about doing things that bring rest to our souls and nourishment to our relationship. We looked over our marriage budget and realized there was way more outgo than income. This happens to us all occasionally and by making a few adjustments we can get right back on the path to relational freedom.  One of the things we decided to do as a source of income was attend a Marriage Seminar (that would be one other than the ones we conduct). So last weekend we drove to Dallas and sat under the teaching of Dr. Dan Alander.  After we got over the trauma of doing the ‘hard work’ the seminar challenged us to do, I think we would both say it definitely went in the income category. It’s so important that we are continually learning and growing otherwise we will become stagnate and we all know what happens then. I’m encouraged and challenged by what Solomon said in the Book of Ecclesiastes,
 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;  A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” (KJV)

Oh…how seasons change!

What about you…Are you transitioning  into a different season in your life?  Have you done any relational evaluating lately? Remember change equals growth-growth equals change.

July 1, 2010

True Woman | Shedding some Light on Twilight

I have to admit I have no attraction to the Twilight Series but have been amazed at how many women are enamored with them. I admittedly have not even taken the time to find out what they are all about. I have concluded that they have something to do with Romance, vampires, darkness, and secrecy based on movie previews. I stumbled upon this article from a trusted blog that I read and it sounds pretty credible. If what the author says about the series is true, her insights are worth reading and I wanted to pass them on to my readers. I think we fail one another sometime by not sending out the warnings we should. Besides, I am told that blogs are boring if they don't have anything controversial in them so here is my attempt to share something controversial. Remember...Grace-Works!

True Woman | Shedding some Light on Twilight

June 3, 2010


My "Italian man" and I took a little trip last month to the Hill Country to view the wildflowers and to visit our daughter and her husband. I have lived in Texas for almost thirteen years and have visited the Hill Country annually to view the wildflowers. I have to say that this year was definitely their most glorious year!

Whereas in the past there were mostly bluebonnets and Indian paint brush, this year there was a myriad of varieties. The plentiful rain has brought much reward!
It was a breathtaking experience to see God’s splendor in His creation!
Each species, gifted with their own measure of beauty, stood as one great body.

It seemed as if they instinctively knew that their individuality would be most glorious in concert with their brothers and sisters. The closer I got to them the more obvious their distinctions.

As I gazed on each one I marveled at its uniqueness but surmised that their strength of beauty was most revealed in their humility as they seemed to defer to one another as they danced as one body in the wind.

The only response that seemed appropriate was praise to the creator for enriching my life with such splendor…and then I thought of His body…
Romans 12
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.
20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

My prayer is that those of us in the Body of Christ would bring glory to our creator and reveal His great splendor as we play our individual part as members in this great body of gifting. Oh, that we would humbly think of others more than ourselves, so that the whole can bring Him much honor. In humility there is great beauty! To God be all Glory!

April 1, 2010

Watch and Pray

Our Church family is reading through the book of Mark in preparation for Easter. As I read Mark chapter 14 this morning I was reminded of a plaque that hangs in my bedroom. It reads, “Every life needs it’s own quiet place.” As I read about Jesus and His time in the garden praying right before His arrest, I was reminded of how prayer is definitely good stewardship for the soul. I think one reason Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to watch and pray with Him was because He knew what was about to happen and wanted them to be prepared. Is this a lesson to us as to how important prayer is in keeping us from entering into temptation? I wonder if these disciples may have responded to the difficulty they were about to encounter differently had they spent the time with Jesus in the garden praying rather than sleeping. Read this segment of scripture with me.
Mark 14:33-46
And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch." He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will." Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. Then He came the third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. "Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand."
And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely." As soon as He had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, "Rabbi, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him.(NKJV)

The Garden of Gethsemane

If you continue reading you will see how the disciples responded to this turn of events.
How might our lives be different if we watched and prayed instead of slept?
As I prepare my heart to celebrate this Easter season, I am reminded of the importance of a daily, moment by moment relationship with Jesus through prayer! Do you have your own quiet place and when was the last time you spent time there? Grace-Works!