Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Love is Intentional

We have been focusing on love this month.  In reality, every day should be focused on love.  Jesus made it clear that love was the greatest thing we could do for each other and for God.  One of the greatest ways we can honor God and model love to others is to respect our husbands. If you have the privilege of being married,  you have been given an incredible opportunity to show love to the world through your relationship with your husband.

Ephesians 5:33 says, “So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”  Not every marriage is successful, and many women are not treated as if they are loved, but God can heal and strengthen anything.  Marriage is work.  You aren’t going to wake up every morning feeling like you love the person next to you.  Love is a feeling, and feelings come and go, when you get married you make a commitment and any commitment takes work and sacrifice.  We don’t respect our husbands because they love us, we do it because God commands it.  Men desire respect in how we speak to them, act towards them, and in the thing they do.  We have to be intentional because it isn’t always easy.

Respecting our husbands is not weakness on our part, but it is part of loving Christ.

Here are some ways to put respecting our husbands into practice:

  • ·         Be faithful to God.  That should be our first priority. 
  • ·         Let your kids know that your marriage takes priority (second only to your relationship with God).  Let them know that being with each other is important and that you won’t  sacrifice your time together. 
  • ·         Life gets in the way sometimes, but try to set regular date nights and keep them.  Have heart to heart conversations, and try to avoid talking about your kids.
  • ·         You cannot be selfish in marriage.  It will not work.  Most disagreements occur becauus someone is being selfish.  Ask yourself, “Why am I staying mad at him, because I want it my way or because I want him to see my side?”.  When each spouse puts the other person first, it’s amazing how selfishness doesn’t creep into the marriage.
  • ·         Do nice things for him just because.  It doesn’t have to be a special occasion.  It’s actually netter when it isn’t.  It means more because you were just thinking about them.  Send a random text throughout the day.  Leave a note in the car.  What kinds of things did you do when you dated?
  • ·         Don’t let a mean word come out of your mouth, but only things that will uplift him. 
  • ·         Give him a hug and kiss when he comes in the door greeting him with “I’m so glad you’re home!”, and don’t leave each other without a genuine “I love you”. Even though we may not always feel like doing those things, our feelings will eventually change as we follow this, acting on what we know and not how we feel.
  • ·         Be intentional about respecting your husband.  So many people put feelings ahead of action and use them as an excuse.  If we do what we are commanded/asked/expected to do, our feelings will fall in line.  Making him happy will make you happy. 
  • ·         Read the book Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti.  It’s a great book about the ways God intentionally designed men and women to be different.

Modeling respect for your husband will make an impact on your children as they begin dating.  Encourage your children to only date people that they could see themselves marrying. If the person they are dating doesn’t have the qualities they want in a spouse, ask them why they are dating them.  It is a waste of time, and might end up in a marriage that neither will be happy in, and sometimes that first love is a lasting one, so why take a chance?

Young love can last as evidenced by Kathy’s story below.  Her testimony sums up the things we have mentioned.  Let it encourage you.

“Rick and I have been married for 37 years.  We were high school sweethearts, and dated for 5 years before we got married.  We have been best friends for 42 years.  When he is at work, we still call one another at least 2-3 times per day just to say that we were thinking of the other.  Have we had our arguments? Of course.  When we look back on them we think how dumb they were.  Being together this long we have learned how to discuss things more efficiently. We still irritate one another, but we try to discuss instead of argue while validating the other’s feelings.  It has been a process and I feel like we have “grown up” together.  It helps that we are both believers and that we go to God with all things. 
I can honestly say I know I found my soul mate.  My parents didn’t think we were a good fit way back when, but they see what I saw years ago and feel blessed to have him as a son-in-law.  I think children do live by example so what we put in front of them is what they know.  They will see us make mistakes, but if they see us address those mistakes that will stick with them.
All we can do is pray, pray, pray!  Pray for our relationships, our kids, and ask God to put the right people in our lives at the right time while having the discernment to know what is right.  I know that Rick and I were meant for each other.  I thank God everyday for the blessing of a wonderful husband.”

Sometimes marriages end for reasons that have nothing to do with us no matter how hard we have worked.  That can be devastating, but know that God is a God of love and second chances.  So, when you start dating again, keep these things in mind, and in prayer.

Contributors: Karen Bromby, Kathy Derda, Tammy Holtzapfel, Maria Kucharczuk, Kim McClure, Shawna Nelson and Kristy Tolley

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