Attention, Wives!

This week, I had the wonderful opportunity to review Darlene Schacht’s new book, The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife: 18 Powerful Lessons for Personal Growth. Darlene is a New York Times Best Selling Author and the creator of The Time-Warp Wife blog.

The book, currently available for Kindle (and will be released in paperback soon) is an 18 part study designed to help women grow closer to God and closer to their husbands. Darlene begins by digging deeper into what it means to be virtuous, and establishing a better understanding of what virtues are. The next 17 lessons focus on specific virtues for readers to explore and strive toward in their own lives. Included are: Purity, Self-control, Love, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, Humility, Faith, Forgiveness, Joy, Passion, Radiance, Encouragement, Balance, Goodness, Trustworthy, and Courage. Each lesson ends with a corresponding passage of scripture for further reading, prompts for journaling or small group discussion, and a virtue-driven prayer for personal growth.

Darlene’s transparent approach to sharing what God has done in her own life lends itself well to the informal nature of the study, setting a friendly, non-judgmental, and conversational tone. Her openness and honesty are refreshing and encourage the reader to be honest about her own areas of weakness and potential for growth.

As I read, I found the lessons to be very timely. With recent changes in my own family (including a new baby), I’m finding a new balance. Each day, I’m working to actively love my family more (sometimes this may simply look like me trying my hardest to keep my cool during a toddler meltdown!) and to be more diligent in my efforts as wife and mother while balancing all my responsibilities. The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife was both encouraging and inspirational for me. I hope many of you will also check it out and challenge yourselves to be more intentional in what God has called you to be in your marriage.

 

“I’d rather be a crown than a trophy wife; I’d rather have virtue than vogue.”
-Darlene Schacht

 

Keri

 

 

Marital Intimacy: One Aspect of Love

Photo credit: Search Influence / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
Search Influence / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

     Psychologist Robert Sternberg gave us a triangular theory of love. As you may discover if you research his theory, he discussed the three sides of the triangle as being intimacy, passion, and commitment. From this description, marital love should ideally have all three aspects, but many marriages don’t.

A marriage with commitment and passion without intimacy would be like a “whirlwind romance,” where the couple has a lot of passion and makes a commitment without really knowing one another, like Romeo and Juliet. A marriage that has intimacy and passion but is lacking commitment doesn’t stand a chance of survival, even though the couple may know one another well. Passion requires work to stay alive… and that requires commitment. A marriage with only intimacy and commitment may look like best friends. They know one another well, they’re committed, but they’re not passionate.

I frequently hear of marriages being damaged because the intimacy that is ideally present in a healthy marriage is sought out in relationships outside the marriage. It is often dismissed because “nothing [physical] happened.” This line of thinking is so destructive to healthy relationships! Intimacy is more than simply a physical act.

Intimacy involves shared emotions and experiences that wouldn’t be discussed with just anyone. Intimacy involves revealing yourself beyond the public front. Sharing your fears, desires, hurts and disappointments with someone other than a spouse goes past the line that is drawn when a marital commitment is established. In a marriage, those intimate, behind-closed-doors conversations belong in communication between spouses, and without them, a marriage is unstable.

Intimacy outside a marriage relationship is a slippery slope. What may begin as “innocent” conversation may easily evolve into a violation of marital vows. Guard your hearts!

Some tips to promote intimacy in your marriage are:

  • When you face struggles with your spouse, run to him/her when you feel like running away.
  • Make it a habit to talk to your spouse about the best and worst parts of each day, to encourage healthy communication. If you wait until something big happens, it’s harder to start talking.
  • Pray together.
  • As a general rule, if you wouldn’t talk about something personal with someone of the opposite gender with your spouse beside you, it’s probably not wise to confide in them about it if your spouse isn’t present.
  • If it’s disrespectful to your spouse, either stop talking or excuse yourself from the conversation.
  • If you are having trouble confiding in your spouse, seek help from a professional counselor or pastor/minister.
  • If the grass looks greener on the other side, invest in some lawn care!

How do you encourage intimacy in your marriage?  How do you keep passion alive?

 

Keri

 

 

 

Titus 2sdays: timewarpwife.com

5 Reasons to Take Time for Your Family

take timeOne morning, when our oldest son was just 18 months old, my husband was running late (or at least later than he wanted to be) for work. He seemed stressed. As he was rushing past, our son lifted a book up to his daddy. “Pae?” (Please)

I watched as my husband stopped rushing and leaned over to Paxton, took the book, and calmly read it to him. I had one of those “I-think-I-just-fell-in-love-with-you-all-over-again” moments that I seem to have frequently.

I continue to see actions such as this on a regular basis, but in this particular incident, it was a short book and probably didn’t take a full minute. I’m sure it would have been easy for him to say, “not now buddy, I’ve got to go.” But he didn’t. He took a moment to demonstrate that our son is important to him.

It seems that all of us feel rushed from time to time. Unfortunately, families who always feel too rushed to take time for one another often begin to fall apart at the seams.

5 reasons to take time for your family

1. Stopping for even a moment to do something positive can help put your stressors in perspective and improve your attitude (read your child a story, tell your spouse your top 5 favorite things about him/her, and listen to your child’s long, rambling story/cheesy joke).
2. Taking time for your family reassures them that they are important to you, which will strengthen your relationships and you may be surprised at the response you get in return!
3. When you take time for your family and strengthen your relationship with your children, your discipline efforts are much more effective, leading to a more stable and secure household. (After all, discipline without relationship leads to rebellion!)
4. Taking time for your family, improving behavior management, and promoting a stable, secure household sets the tone for an improved, intimate marriage relationship and decreased stress.
5. Jobs come and go, but the best relationships last forever.

According to scripture, we were made in God’s image and God IS Love (1 John 4:8). Love is relational, and Love is unending. Our priority is to be a godly example to our families. If we are too busy to take time for them, we are not showing them love. Modeling God’s love to those around us (especially our families) is the most important thing we could possibly do on this earth!

 

Keri

Wives, Submit

Wives, Submit; Husbands, Love!With the recent criticism Candace Cameron Bure is facing regarding her book and sharing that she is a submissive wife, it seemed like a good time to discuss what it means to be a submissive wife.

Ephesians 5:22

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

Ladies, does that passage make you squirm? Men, does that passage leave you with your chest puffed out a bit?

There are many aspects of love-as-God-intended that have been distorted in this world. Many will read that excerpt and take it at surface value alone: Women, obey and serve men. BUT, the message does not stop there.

Ephesians 5:23

“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.”

What makes the difference is the presence of Love (God the Son IS Love). This passage illustrates how the relationship between husband and wife was designed to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church.

It seems easier for the church to submit to her Groom, Christ, because Christ’s love is perfect. We know that perfect love is NOT selfish (1 Corinthians 13), and because of that, we can be very secure in trusting Christ when we recognize His true attributes, rather than treating Him as a fallable human being.

However, the distorted beliefs about relationships that lead to women squirming and men puffing out their chests are frequently reinforced by the failings of human love.

The passage continues:

Ephesians 24-33

“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

So, it goes both ways. Wives, submit to your husbands. Let them be the head of the household. Respect them. Let your actions support them.

At the same time, Husbands, love your wives. That means to put them first – Love is not selfish! Treat your wives as the princesses they are! (We are, after all, sons and daughters of the King!) Be to your wives as Christ is to the church. Christ was willing to lay down His life for the church. Do you guys love your wives that much? If husbands love their wives in this God-centered, Agape kind of love – wives can trust their husbands to lead.

The biggest suggestion I could make to get your marriage moving in the right direction and fully enjoy the beauty of love-as-God-intended in your marriage is to work together toward spiritual growth.

  • Study together what it means to love as God intended – as Christ loves the Church.
  • Pray together.
  • Renew the commitment you made to one another, being sure to put the focus on God’s amazing love.

A deeper, more satisfying, loving relationship with your spouse may be waiting just around the corner. Set your “self” aside and work on BEING a more loving spouse. You may be surprised at the response you get!

What are your thoughts on the seemingly controversial phrase?

 

 

Keri

Reconciliation Rather Than Divorce

The following is an excerpt from the book,“Love Isn’t Selfish.” I wanted to share a bit with you all here to discuss how God’s love may be modeled in our human relationships.

“The story of Hosea is an amazing story of being “in” love. Hosea was instructed by God to take an adulterous wife. Hosea married Gomer, and she was unfaithful to him. She bore three children, but it is questionable whether the second or third were Hosea’s. The first son, Scripture says “she conceived and bore him a son” (Hosea 1:3). His name was Jezreel, “because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel,” says the Lord in verse four.    The second, Scripture says in verse six, “Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter.” The daughter’s name was “Lo-Ruhamah, for I will no longer show love to the house of Israel, that I should at all forgive them” (verse 6). Later on, Gomer gave birth to another son, whom the Lord said to call “Lo-Ammi, for you are not my people, and I am not your God” (verse 9). In Chapter two of Hosea, Israel is rebuked. Verse two says “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband.”

The relationship between Hosea and Gomer here reflects what was happening between God and His people, Israel. Israel was being adulterous and was not in love with God, her maker and her husband. The names of Hosea’s children were warnings to the people, each stronger than the one before, but the people did not change their ways. The Lord then turned from his wife, Israel, and removed His blessings from her. This is echoed in Hosea’s actions. Gomer had apparently become a slave during this time, and Hosea bought her back as his slave. He agreed to live with her on the grounds that she would not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man for “many days,” implying a period of isolation after which there would be a future. In that same manner, throughout the unfaithfulness of Israel, God sought reconciliation rather than divorce. Hosea chapter six, verse six says, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.” After turning from His wife, He turned back and showed love again. Blessing would come with Israel’s repentance.”

God loves us. The phrase is used so often it seems to often be brushed aside as if it has no real meaning. If I could give the world one message, it would be that God’s love isn’t selfish, and He truly has our best interests in mind. God seeks reconciliation rather than divorce, mercy rather than sacrifice, and acknowledgment rather than burnt offerings. I pray each of you may have a deeper understanding of God’s incredible love for you!

Keri

Battling Bitterness

In any relationship, there will be moments when both parties are just not on the same page. There will be disagreements, and there will be times when expectations are not met.

Unmet expectations may be a breeding ground for bitterness. Have you been there?

The trash wasn’t taken out as expected. He/She forgot to pick up the mail as promised. You were left waiting longer than you believed was reasonable. He/She stayed late at work…again.

Whatever you believe your spouse “should” be doing and isn’t – are you discussing it lovingly, or are you stewing about it?

Human nature says to stew. Oh, the thoughts that pop in our self-centered minds! “I shouldn’t have to put up with this!” “I can’t believe it happened AGAIN!” “Oh, I shouldn’t have to say anything, he should just know.”  ”I wish she’d just stop nagging!!”

It’s so easy to get ourselves worked up when we let ourselves stew over the shoulds, but all it does is give bitterness a foothold. It’s not healthy.

So, how do we combat such negativity? Allow me to share a little secret with you….

Compassion Negates Bitterness.

Challenge your negative thoughts by asking yourself how your spouse may feel. Did he forget because he’s too stressed at work to keep things straight? Is she exhausted? Is that what it was like for him growing up? Does she seem to be nagging because she feels unappreciated and unheard?

Understanding the motivation for your spouse’s actions may not excuse disrespectful or hurtful behavior, but it may help YOU better cope with it so you are better able to remain calm and respectfully address the situations that arise, whether in your marriage or in parenting. Seek understanding and you will gain wisdom.

Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

As soon as you begin feeling irritable, negative, and hateful:

  1. Check your attitude
  2. Pray for a compassionate heart.
  3. Focus on what is true, what is noble, what is right…. because love isn’t selfish.

 Keri