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Welcome to my blog: Today's Lady Virtue. This site is for women--wives, mothers, singles, widows, family, friends, etc.! My heart is to share loving encouragement coupled with timeless truths from God's Word, the Bible, to enlighten, uplift, and empower women of today. At Today's Lady Virtue we're about "Reclaiming Virtuous Womanhood today the Time-tested Way!" Here you will find a variety of posts from poems, to "Put into Practice" principles, to pictures and more! I invite you to voyage with me on the quest to become Today's Lady Virtue.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The D's of a FruitLESS and FruitFULL Marriage

 Reminder: These ABC's of a FruitLESS or FruitFULL marriage are intended to be fun and though-provoking not "gospel" or absolute.  I think they are useful for providing visible contrasts in our behavior and can help spotlight areas that we are doing well in (or need improvement in) our marriages.
D is for DEFENDING     excusing oneself; refusal to accept personal responsibility for one’s actions

D is for DATING     the perpetual action of spending quality time doing a variety of mutually pleasing activities with one’s spouse on a regular basis

Why is it so difficult to be humble?  Why is it so challenging to be quiet?  Why is it so easy to be prideful and to think more highly of ourselves than we ought?  Why is it so tempting to DEFEND our every action and explain it all away?  Do we really think we are so perfect that we can never stand corrected?  Do we really have it all together, all figured out, all perfect-like?  

I see a recurring theme in the fruitLESS marriage relationship...prIde.  You have likely heard it said that there is a big "I" right in the middle of that word.  Yep!  That's who we think about when we allow ourselves to become prIdeful in our marriage--me, myself, and I!

 22 An angry man stirs up dissension,
       and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
 23 A man's prIdebrings him low,
       but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.
Proverbs 29:22-23

When I find myself on the defensive, it is a reasonable clue that I am being prIdeful .  If I tend to be offering too many explanations, justifications, and rationalizations for my thoughts, words, or behavior, chances are that I am likely full of prIde!

On the contrary, when I can bite my tongue, zip my lips, and be quiet...well, I tend to be acting out of humility instead of vain conceit!  I am not saying that I have no voice or "say" in the matter; rather, I am speaking again of motives for one, and manner/methods.  I'm sure you have figured out by now that there are positive and effective ways to communicate as well as negative ones. 

Here are some sayings and verses that help me to respond for appropriately in my marriage when my prIde flares up:

" 1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
       but a harsh word stirs up anger." 
Proverbs 15:1 
 7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 
 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." 1 Peter 4:7-9
"Pray it, don't say it."  A BSF Discussion Leader of mine told me years ago that I can pray to God about my frustrations instead of verbalizing each one.  When I pray about an issue before confronting my offender, it will help me to be at peace within myself.  Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit may be unleashed to work in my husband's heart in preparation for our discussion.  I have the opportunity to cast my cares on God, trust Him to answer according to His character and perfect will, and witness the work of God in my husband's heart and life (as well as mine).

Many times when I pray about something God works out the problem in my husband's heart without me even having to address him regarding the matter.  I think this miracle of God (working in my hubby's heart after offering concerned prayers to God without me saying anything to my husband) is reflective of 1 Peter 3 that refers to the holy women of the Bible.  Women like Abraham's beloved wife, Sarah, demonstrated a gentle and quiet spirit.  God honored that manner/method.  Quietness and submissiveness are pure, reverent, and frankly, EFFECTIVE!   

If we can get past ourselves and that ugly prIde thing...maybe we can progress to something a little more DATING!

Do we still remember that we used to have FUN with our mates?  We actually used to spend quality time TOGETHER!  We used to phone call, e-mail, write letters/notes/cards to, court, date, hang out with, etc...  Do you remember walking around on "Cloud 9"?  Do you remember when the notes or calls were not enough and you needed to SEE your man?  I think you get the picture.  :)

When I married my husband I told him, "I want you to always date me."  He is my best friend.  He brings out the best in me.  He knows me and draws out parts of me that I didn't even know were in me!  I have often told him that I feel like "Life began when I met you."  :)  OK--so that may be a bit cheesy...but "Everything tastes better with cheese, right?"

The point here is that my hubby is good for me!  Hanging out with him is fun and therapeutic for me.  It is beneficial for me to spend time with him because he helps me enjoy and experience life here on earth.  We go on adventures together and invent new ways to have fun together.  Remember the Disney movie, Aladdin?  He can take me on a "magic carpet ride" and I'm better because of it!

But..."Life happens" as my good friend says.  We have children (and more children).  We work hard and work IS hard. There is LOTS of laundry.  The house is trashed (like in 2 seconds).  We sign up our kids for sports or other activities.  Don't forget about church!  What about playdates?  Oh, oh, and education!  That is SO important!  A project is due and there is a boatload of homework this week!  We're out of groceries (you should see my pantry!).  So and so has invited us to a birthday party.  Etc., etc., etc...

Squeeze.  Squeeze.  Squeeze.

That's it.  There is no time left for anything.  We're doing good just to stay afloat.  When "Life happens" this boat rocks and threatens to sink!  Forget having any extra time for my spouse.  We're just hanging by a thread here.  I think I may need to use a lifeline!

This is a huge topic.  Again, we could discuss this for hours and days...future posts?   
Challenge: Remember.  Reflect.  Reminisce.  Recall.  Relive.  Refresh.  Rejuvenate.  Renew.  Relate.  We did not end up in our marriages by accident.  We used to LOVE the man we married.  Over the course of time we have likely gotten to know him (and hopefully adore him) in some new ways.  While yes, "Life happens" and times are busy, let's CHOOSE this moment to relate to our spouses again.  Let's start to DATE them again.  

We don't even have to leave the home and pay a sitter to date our spouse.  Begin small.  Be realistic.  Set a mutually agreeable time to reconnect.  Fan the flame!  Let's the good times roll...again!   

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