Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Best Approach to an Unbelieving Spouse

While God's word tells us that we should avoid relationships with nonbelievers, sometimes we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of an unequally yoked partnership. Maybe you were nonbelievers when you got married and then one of you gave your life to Christ later down the road. Or maybe you married a nonbeliever hoping they would eventually change. Whatever your situation, it happens and when it does, the Bible tells us that there is still potential for good. 1 Corinthians 7:14 says the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Now this does not mean that if you are a Christian your husband or wife is automatically saved. What it does mean is that your influence on your spouse's life may be strong enough to win them over. 

How to deal with an unbelieving husband

While the potential exists, it doesn't always happen easily and rarely on our time making being married to a nonbeliever incredibly frustrating. So what do we do? How do we minister to our spouses without becoming discouraged and driving them away?

Let your light shine 

Like a pile of dirty laundry when we are expecting company, we tend to close Jesus up in our hearts in the presence of nonbelievers. We do this because we're scared they may think we are strange, that we're judging them or we're worried we may come across as too pushy. But I believe that hearts are changed through the example of others. Your spouse may not have accepted Jesus because he/she has never seen what it truly means to have a relationship with Him. As someone your spouse is around every day, you are in the perfect position to be an example of that relationship for them. Be open about who Jesus is in your life. Be honest about your sins so they see that Jesus accepts us as we are. Speak of Him as a friend and allow your spouse to see the joy and peace Jesus brings you. Love them the way Jesus loves you.

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. 
Matthew 5:15-16

Be willing to be different. Be willing to be strange. Be confidant in your faith because Jesus says that we are the light of the world. Our light may be the only one our spouse ever sees. Let it shine!

Recognize that the fight is not yours 

When it comes to our unbelieving loved ones, we have tendency to place a tremendous amount of responsibility on ourselves for their salvation. This can leave us feeling weighed down and defeated and can place unnecessary distance in our relationships.  
I love what 1 Corinthians 3:6 teaches us- I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. Allowing ourselves to believe this lifts the weight right off of our shoulders and places it in God's very capable hands. The truth is that all we can do is plant the seeds. The outcome is between your spouse and God. 

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.  
Ezekiel 36:26.

 Prayer and Patience 

Ultimately, I think that prayer is the most powerful tool we have when dealing with an unsaved spouse. It is through prayer that God can begin working in your spouse's heart while encouraging you in the pursuit. When you feel defeated, pray. When you want to nag your spouse, pray. When you start to see the fruit of your effort, pray! Ask God to not only change your spouse's heart, but to lead you in ministering to your spouse in a way that is pleasing to Him.  

The Bible says that anything we ask according to His will will given to us. What it doesn't say is that it will be given to us immediately. It is in our waiting time that we often experience a spiritual growth spurt. God uses our wait to draw us closer to Him and enhance our faith. Remember that Abraham was 100 years old when Issac was born. God is faithful to fulfill His promises, we just have to be patient with Him.

 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
 Lamentations 3:25-26

If you are struggling in a relationship with a nonbeliever, I want to encourage you that we serve a God who is capable of moving even the most stubborn and resistant mountains. Continue to shine your light and when it seems impossible, remember that you are simply God's seed sower. He will take care of everything else. 



Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Love Language That Will Change Your Marriage

Have you heard of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman? If you haven't, you should look it up, but I'll bring you up to speed for now. The book talks about the five different ways in which each of us prefers to receive love: quality time, physical touch, gifts, words of affirmation and acts of service. We all have a different love language. Understanding your spouse's love language allows you to love him/her in the way they are most receptive. 

love languages

To determine your love language, you can take the quiz here
(This would be a great Valentine's Day activity!)

Knowing your spouses' love language is a great key to loving them well. However, I believe that it is equally, if not more, important to understand that most of us tend to show love in our own love language. We do this with good intentions. If we would love it, our spouse definitely would too, right? Wrong. We don't realize that what fills our love tank may not even register as an act of love to our spouse. This has happened plenty of times in my marriage and I'm sure it has happened in yours. 

Imagine it's your birthday and you've had your eyes on a pair of beautiful diamond earrings you saw at the mall. You subtly drop hints, but you never actually come out and ask for them (your love language is gifts). That day, your husband wakes up at the crack of dawn and sneaks out of bed. He cleans the house and then heads outside to wash your car (his love language is acts of service). You wake up and, while you're surprised, you can't help but feel disappointed about your "present" and your disappointment spills over into the rest of your day. Your husband wonders where he went wrong. Poor guy. He thought he was doing something so wonderful for his wife on her birthday, but it's almost as if she didn't even notice.

love languages

 Sound familiar? These situations happen more often then we realize, not just on special occasions. We go about our days feeling unloved and it's typically our own fault. We focus on the things our spouse isn't doing instead of the things they are doing. We have love language tunnel vision. All we can see in front of us are those diamond earrings that we didn't get so we miss the great love that's happening all around us.

1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love "does not insist on its own way." 
 This Valentine's Day, I challenge you to graciously receive your spouse's love. Whether it is delivered in a box with a pretty bow or comes in the form of a selfless act of service, know that it came from the heart. Make it a point to notice the little things your loved ones do for you. You may be surprised to find you are far more loved than you think you are.

Happy Valentine's Day! 


Monday, February 8, 2016

7 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Husband

 As a wife, do you feel an overwhelming responsibility for your husband's physical, spiritual and mental well being? I've been there. I used to be the wife who thought it was her duty to fix her husband. From small annoyances to big issues, I thought if I didn't guide him in the way he should I wanted him to go, he would never change. I would Google ways to change him, nag him constantly, whatever it took. But In the end, spiritual back pain was all that came of my efforts to shoulder problems that weren't mine to solve. When I finally figured out that it wasn't my job to fix my husband, that his "problems" were between him and God, I experienced freedom from the false sense of responsibility I had carried around and my husband actually began to change. I know it's not easy to give up the control. As women, we think it's our job to take care of everything and everyone. But, the Bible says that we are to be still and know that HE is God (Psalm 46:10). Did you catch that? He is God, we are not. We have to learn how to get out of his way and allow Him to do what only He can do. The best way to do that is to get down on our knees, speak our requests and allow Him to do the rest.

Below you will find 7 scriptures to help you start praying for your husband today! Meditate on them, write them down, say them just as they are. Whatever you do, I believe there is so much power in praying God's word back to Him.

praying for your husband

1. For Good Health
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God with your body."  
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

2. For Strength in Hard Times

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 

3. For Godly Friends

"Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." 
 Proverbs 13:20

"Do not be deceived: bad company ruins good morals."  
1 Corinthians 15:33  

4. For a Passion for God

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."          
 Mark 12:30  

5. For Protection From Evil

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me." Psalm 138:7  

6. For Wisdom

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Romans 12:2

7. For Joy

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13 

I know that many times we feel like we are fighting a losing battle, that even if we are praying for our husbands, our prayers aren't being heard or that they are too big. I want to encourage you tonight that God is capable of immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Even when it's taking longer than we would like and the results aren't exactly what we asked for, you can rest assured that while you are still, He is hard at work.


Friday, February 5, 2016

6 Date Ideas to Break the Monotony (not the bank)

As I talked about here, I believe that the key to a steadfast love is spending quality time together. I think a lot of couples, however, struggle to make quality time a priority. My husband and I certainly do. When you've been together for a while, you start to fall into a routine and the excitement you once felt is replaced by complacency. Add work, children and a tight budget and you've got a recipe for a stale marriage. Below you will find 5 date ideas that will break the monotony, but not the bank.

Date Night Ideas

1. Get out of the house. My husband and I are both nature lovers so some of our favorite dates have been outside. Pack a picnic dinner and some blankets, drive out to into the country and eat dinner under the stars. You could print out a constellation map and search for them together. We prefer to just gaze and watch for shooting stars. We live fairly close to the beach so something else we've done is order pizza and eat it on the beach on summer nights when it's still light outside. If you have kids and can't get away, plan to have dinner together on the back deck after the they have gone to bed. Getting outside is a great way to get away from all of the electronic distractions and focus on each other. Leave your phone in the car!

2. Plan your dream vacation or search for your dream home. Get on your laptop, ipad or whatever and spend some time looking for cool resorts in exotic places. You may never actually get to go, but sometimes the planning is half the fun. You could also spend some time looking at houses for sale in your area (or a place you've dreamed of living). This is a great way to determine what you are looking for in your future home. 

3. Mix and Math Dinner. We've never actually done this. I heard the idea on the radio a few years ago and thought it sounded fun. Go to a few different fast food drive-thrus and create a meal from your favorite foods from each one. Example: Chick-Fil-A fries, Zaxby's wings, Cook Out milkshake. Take it all home and eat it while watching a good movie.

4. Attend a high school sporting event. Being around young people will remind you of the spark you had when you first started dating. This is especially cool if you're high school sweethearts and live in your hometown.

5. Purge. This may not sound like your idea of a good time, but give it a try. Roger and I recently went through our clothes and got rid of a ton of stuff. It was fun to model our old clothes (think prom dresses and suits that haven't been worn in years) for each other and it felt so good to have some extra space when we were done. Great conversations can come from sorting through all of the stuff you've accumulated as a couple.

6. Volunteer together. What better way to bond than by serving others together? Ask your church or use a website like or to find volunteer opportunities around your community. 

A great date night does not have to consist of getting dressed up and blowing your entire paycheck on dinner. In fact, some of my favorite date nights have been nights where we stay home in our pajamas. Whatever you do, do it regularly, remove all distractions and enjoy each other's company.

Do you and your spouse make time for regular dates? If so, how often do you go on dates? What are some of your favorite things to do together? I'd love to hear your ideas!


Monday, February 1, 2016

A Christ-Like Love in an Ordinary Marriage

How to better love your spouse with the love of Jesus.

There is a very high call that God has placed on marriages. In Ephesians 5, the Bible says wives are to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ and husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Put simply, this means that God created marriage to be a reflection of His love for and relationship with his people. That is an incredible responsibility and a beautiful gift. It means that if you are married, God has gifted you with an earthly relationship that has the potential to be filled with the same love that He has for you.

How do we fulfill this calling? How do we take our ordinary marriages and create a Christ-like love within them? I believe in order to do this, we must have a clear understanding of the characteristics of God's love and apply them in our marriages every day.

1. God's love is forgiving. Ephesians 1:7 says “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Forgiveness is the cornerstone of God's love for us. Can you imagine if God put as much pressure on you to be perfect as you do on your spouse? God would be quite lonely in Heaven. He doesn't though, He is an understanding God who recognizes that we mess up. All of the time. That's why he sent Jesus. He doesn't hold a grudge. He doesn't bring up your past sins every time He's disappointed in you and he doesn't punish you. Like the Lord does for us, we have to show a little grace to our spouses, remembering that they, like you, are only human. When we choose to withhold forgiveness, we create feelings of bitterness and resentment that pile up like bricks until there is a giant wall around our heart. I'll be the first to tell you, the wall is much easier to break down before the mortar dries.

2. God's love is unconditional. Agape is the Greek word for God's love for us. says that "God’s agape love is unmerited, gracious, and constantly seeking the benefit of the ones He loves." Oh that gets me feeling warm and fuzzy! That is the kind of love I want in my marriage. Will you be honest though and admit that there are times when you choose not to show love to your spouse because of something he/she did or didn't do? I know I'm guilty, but the love we show our spouses should not be based on their behavior. If we want a marriage that glorifies God we have to recognize that, while our spouses may not always deserve our love, we ourselves don't ever deserve God's love yet He gives it to us anyway. He so freely gives his love because it's not about what He is getting out of the relationship, but what He is giving. Our pride should never get in the way of our seeking the benefit of the ones we love.

3. God's love is slow to anger. I think most of us can agree that we put on our best attitudes for strangers, friends and coworkers and save our tempers, unkind words and impatience for our spouses. Your marriage, however, is not a safe place for your flesh to rise. Psalm 62:8 says "Oh my people trust in him at all times. Pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." Instead of allowing our emotions to tear our spouses to shreds, we need to go to the Lord with our anger and frustration, lay it at His feet and allow Him to restore our patience and improve our attitudes.

4. God's love is sacrificial. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice when He stepped down from his heavenly throne and came to the earth as a helpless infant. He chose to endure the pain, suffering and sorrow of a human life. He didn't have to. He could have easily accomplished the same thing from the comforts of Heaven, but because of His great love for us, he chose to die an earthly death so that we may live. Much like Jesus, in our marriages, we sometimes have to step down from our thrones of selfishness and get uncomfortable. We have to be willing to die to our own desires in the name of finding a middle ground, a place where we can both be satisfied. There are times it may be as simple as adjusting your decorating style to allow for a couple of deer on your living room wall. Other times it may mean supporting your spouse through a job change. Whatever the situation, great love often requires gracious sacrifice.

  5. God's love is steadfast. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end." Lamentations 3:22. God's love for us remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His love does not change with our behavior, it does not change with our success or our failure. It is constant. In order to arm our marriages with the same steadfast love, we have to nurture them. The endless demands and distractions of this world have created a environment of complacency in our marriages. We must put down our phones, turn off our TVs and shave down our lists of commitments in order to make our marriages a priority. Whether you've been married 5 months or 50 years, quality time together is everything. Our marriages need to come second only to our relationship with God.

All in all, it is only by placing Christ at the center of our marriages that we can even come close to achieving a love that closely resembles His. Our human nature keeps us from fully loving others in the way in which God loves us, but His is the example that we should always strive to follow.