Archives for September2011

Real People… REAL LIVES, Marriages Saved by the Word of God

 

“Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Proverbs 5:18

All over the world couples are getting married and dreaming of being able to STAY married. When we started this series on “Being Married to a Dreamstealer” we began with the example of Job and his emotional life and marital trials. We saw how Job’s own wife encouraged him to “Go ahead and curse God and die.” However regardless of his wives negativity, and his persistent life challenges, Job was able to become completely restored by the power of God. The Bible says,

“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous

again and gave him twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10

God created marriage a sacred and holy union between a man and a woman who desire to become one flesh. Your spouse can be your friend, your very BEST friend and together with Christ at the center of your marriage you three can become an unstoppable trio! As soon as Job’s heart changed from being hardened through pain and suffering to empathetic with understanding toward those he was in relation with, the Lord was able to make his way more prosperous even than before… Job got SAVED!

 

All Who Call Upon the Lord WILL Be Saved

In conclusion of this marriage series I would like to share with you some marriage testimonies that we have collected over the years. They are stories from real people living real lives, and they have each gotten through tough times as men and women desiring to “stick it out” and put the Word first place in their marriages. They love the Lord, and they can boldly claim to themselves and to others that they are in fact WHOLEHEARTED through their relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you feel the Lord tugging on your heart to share with all of us here at WHM your story, please send it to jessica@wholeheartedministries.com. We receive at least 2,000 views a week from people seeking a change, and would love to share with the world your story of encouragement to others who feel as if they have no place left to go. There is HOPE for the hopeless! Have a great rest of the week my friends!!

Jeff & Jessica Knew Each Other ONE Day

“What did you ever see in me?”

14 years ago, I met Jeff on a group date. It was Tina, Katie, Ashley, Mizraim, Jeff, and I. We met up at Dolce Spazio in Los Gatos. From the moment I saw him I knew- he was going to be a riot.

I have never stopped laughing since that first night. He often asks:

“What did you ever see in me?” and I have to reply-“You made me laugh…and you have looooong legs!”

Laugher has been the greatest benefit to our marriage. It was off to a rocky start- it happened so fast. We chose not to sleep together before we got married and wanted to- so we got married fast!

We had only known each other for a day, when we decided to get married- and didn’t really know each other at all. We had a lot in common, but I had no idea about his upbringing, or his family- and he had no idea how to handle me, a driver type ‘A’ female. We could have easily ended our marriage, but we made the decision never to quit. We aren’t quitters.

My parents have been married multiple times, and so have his. Neither of us knew how to be married. It is only through God’s grace, and countless marriage books that we were able to stick with it- and learn how to be happy during it. We always knew we were never going to quit- we just wanted to be happy in the process!

We fought a ton in the beginning, but vowed never to go to bed mad. No matter how long it took- or how late we stayed up we promised to always have it cleared up before bed. This was critical, considering we could have woken up the next day miserable- but didn’t.

I love my husband more than anything, but God. I Love him less than God- because I know that it is God who blessed me with him. I love my children after my husband, yes in that order. I recognize that after our kids are gone it will be Jeff and I, and we will have to know each other intimately in order to survive our empty home. I have written a book on what I did in order to save my marriage. It blessed me to be able to do so.

The power of God in our lives individually, and our prayer and meditation by putting Him first has created a growth environment for our family. We have been through job loss, others divorcing, deaths, miscarriage, moves, friendships, businesses, raising kids, raising pets, abundance of money, no money, roaches, diamonds, debt, no debt. You name it we have been there and done that- but I have had my best friend laughing along with me all the way. I have been truly blessed.

A Woman of Faith Learns to Love Again

“God just did a work in his soul which made him hungry for the things of God”

What an incredible opportunity to witness and to preach God’s amazing love! I am honored that you would consider me in your talk. One of the most incredible testimonies of this year and of this lifetime did sprout directly from your ministry: the kindling of the Holy Spirit’s fire in my husband. As you know we are two very different kind of people.

I’m ambitious, quick to pull the trigger, emotional, spontaneous, authoritative, dominating…you get the picture… the tigress of the household. But I did know that my domineering personality, while it served a purpose in some circumstances, it did not serve a Godly marriage. My husband on the other hand is cool, level-headed, patient, unwavering, predictable, and easy going. Obviously, that’s quite a cocktail that God put together, and it translated to a frustrating situation where I was making all the decisions and when results didn’t come, having to accept all the blame. And you really, ever so gently pointed out what I knew all along, but did not act upon; and that’s allowing my husband to be the head of the household. It was difficult for me to submit to someone soooooo passive, because it felt like nothing got done. But you and Jeff showed me that it was an issue of not submitting to my husband, but submitting to God Himself and His perfect will for my life and our marriage. And you gave me the practical steps of making that Truth real in my life.

You shared things like deferring decisions to him, (even the smallest ones, ie. What color plastic cups for the party? Red or blue?), speaking authority over our situation and finding scripture to back it, seeking God for His vision & not setting my own agenda, and trusting that God will restore all the “things” we’ve “lost” in this trial & will return a double portion of it on top of the restoration…. And all of that gave me the patience and the hope that my God can and will draw out the King in my man…. And on Aug 22, 2009 My husband encountered God on a camping trip. (and) It was like a light switch just flipped on. I don’t know what exactly happened, other than God just did a work in his soul which made him hungry for the things of God. Since then he has been praying spontaneously, speaking against generational curses, and reading his Bible. Then God sent two godly men in his life which has allowed him to be mentored and to mentor. Now he sets his work schedule around Bible studies and his “man meetings” in the gym. While our finances and our household issues remain as they had before… I can see God raising him up so that he can take authority in these realms. (But) I had to believe it even before I saw anything. I had to just eat the Word from the Bible and from your ministry. And just stay close to you and anyone else who had been through a season like this. And the greatest thing is that God has been working in others because of what He’s done in our lives. Three of my good friends are going through separation/divorce/abuse in their marriage and I’ve been able to share in kind what God has poured out through your ministry to me. So all around… God has weaved an amazing and beautiful testimony in all of our lives and I am so grateful. Praise God for you, Jeff, and your phone/email/text ministry!

A Husband Shares From His Heart

“Thirty years of marriage, three wonderful kids and I still get the same flutters when I speak about her.”

Tomoe walked into my 7th grade English class, and it was absolutely LOVE at first sight!  I spent most of that year teasing her and finally asked her to “go” with me at the start of 8th grade.  Thirty years of marriage, three wonderful kids and I still get the same flutters when I speak about her.  God truly blessed me with my soul mate!

Like any other marriage, ours has had its ups and downs, highs and lows, but we have fortunately come through it all, without ever doing any unfixable damage. Being a US Marine wife was difficult on her as I was often gone for months at a time, while she carried the responsibility of raising our children alone.  Both of us being Christians obviously made a difference in keeping us together, during the rough spots.

Even though we were both Christians, I hadn’t truly given God authority over all things in my life. Money and “things” were so important, that I struggled with just the thought of tithing or paying God first.  I also couldn’t fathom the idea that I was supposed to love God more than my wife. This seemed weird to me, as it also meant that she is supposed to love God more than me.  I was actually jealous of God.   I found ways to justify pornography, gambling and other things that I knew were wrong.  Since we were so happy together, I had convinced myself that we must be doing something right and it was all ok.

It wasn’t until we both truly committed our lives to God, and to his will (wholehearted), that I realized how far I had let the devil lead us astray from what God desires in a holy, God based marriage.  We both now love God so much and praise him for the blessing of this partnership he brought together for his purpose.  I cannot even imagine God not being first in all things.  Our finances now rightfully belong to him, and we have never lacked.  We guard the types of programs that we watch or are allowed in our home.  We study and claim his promises for our children and they have been blessed.  We are attending Bible College together so that we will be ready when God needs us.

We thought we loved each other before, but you can’t imagine how much more incredible that love is,  when your first love is Christ and you allow everything else to flow from that!  I even look at my spouse differently. She sparkles, because I know God gifted me with her.  I have absolute trust in her.  I honor and care for her as the bible instructs.   We start each day praising and praying together, eagerly anticipating what God may have planned for us together.  I have come to realize that I haven’t even scratched the surface of what “real love” is all about.  You can’t help but raise your arms in praise for your spouse, your marriage and his wonderful gift he’s given you!

A New Marriage in Christ, Susan’s LOVE Story

“I was very much into tarot/fortune telling”

My husband, Tharin, brought me to Tombstone. We met on a singles talk line and married a year in a half later.

We were both on drugs at the time, and it just got worse with our addiction to meth. We both were miserable, mean to each other to the point of hate and almost killing each other, he and I both cheated on each other, our home & our marriage was falling apart.

I was very much into tarot/fortune telling, using a pendulum, hypnotizing, and getting pretty close to getting heavy into witchcraft but the Lord let me know that these things were wrong for me to do.

I was a Buddhist for 20 years but never reached the point of “enlightenment” as I read in my Buddhist studies. The Lord has always watched over me even when I didn’t know him personally.

My husband went to prison 4 years ago and still has 4 more years to do. He is doing time in Kingman. Yes, it is very far from home. I became a Christian almost 4 years ago, and when my husband went to do his time, he became a Christian too….Praise the Lord!

Our love for each other is far better now than ever before, now that we have God in our lives…God fixed what was broken which was us! Thank you Jesus! Our meth addiction is no more!

My husband and I have been clean and sober and we have only God to thank for our new life in Jesus, our new life in our new bodies!!! I told my husband that I am HIS servant now and forever, HIS meaning God. It is very difficult at times, but I know God will bring my husband home, when it is HIS will to do so.

My husband and I visit each other only two or three times a year, due to my financial status is very limited…but when we see each other we see what God has done for us and how much HE loves us, and so we love God…and when we do love HIm, we can love each other even better and better everyday.

I never thought that love could grow and grow as time goes on, but we endure whatever together because the Lord strengthens us to do so…so that we can, one day, have a marriage that God intended us to have, and wanted for us, to be happy & blessed, & loving one another.

Hope for the Future From Godly Examples

“If his wife is doing her duty, a man has no business out away from her, and visa versa.”

My parents are my inspiration. This October they will be married for 60 years. When I ask them what their secret to a happy marriage is, my father says “We do everything together!” My parents go to church, take trips and just hang out together.

This year, I took my father to Texas to see some friends and family with out my Mother… He missed her so much. He feels a man should treat a woman equal to himself. If his wife is doing her duty, a man has no business out away from her, and visa versa. If my father came home before my mother, he would start the dinner. They would share everything, and never make any decisions with out each other. In the same token, they do give each other their space.

I want a husband just like my Daddy. My parents are so loving… even our old friends from our childhood come to visit my parents to this very day. They are giving, and always helping the homeless with food or money, and just love everyone. They have unconditional Godly love!

God Blesses Marriages Around the World

“I was slowly growing cold in my love for God and that of my wife.”

I was encouraged to share our testimony after seeing the testimony recently posted by Wholehearted on FB.

I would like to appreciate the kind of friendship we have with you guys which started with my wife getting to know Jessica first. At first I was not sure where this was going but I later discovered that my wife was having a heart-to-heart discussion with Jessica.

We have been going through some turbulent phase in our life and thank God that at the right time God made my wife and Jessica to connect so there could be an opportunity for both of them to share things and provide quality support to each other.

The advice my wife was getting from Jessica, managed to get me back to the right direction. I was somehow getting sidetracked and was not willing to provide leadership in this marriage to ensure that love and intimacy and faith in nurtured. I was struggling with some habits of about a decade that I think made me hard in my heart and I was slowly growing cold in my love for God and that of my wife.

I have been to depths of sin but praise God that I am back and fighting for my life, my faith, my family, my career, my future!
My wife shared with Jessica about my problems and when I got to know about that I was angry but decided not to do anything because I realized how big the challenge she was facing in this relationship was. I also began to look inside me and realize that I am actually going down the drain.

My wife and Jessica were used by God-Jessica would encourage her, advise her and pray for her (even for me I believe). Although I was very difficult, emotionally cold, hostile and uncooperative, my wife managed to melt me down and convinced me that I needed to go to a men’s camp in our church here in South Africa. What a weekend I had, God confronted me about my life and my issues, I was crying tears the whole weekend and I can say that ever since I came back I have been a different person. We have had some bad moments but God is helping us to listen to each other, to be sensitive to each other and to work through issues and resolve them.

I believe that from now whatever battle or issues surface, we will be able to deal with them properly. I am also able to deal with my issues which I have been struggling with and I am winning the battle. I have recently finished a very good book which helps married men deal with sexual purity in their lives and strengthen their marriages.

We are learning to fellowship with each and with God better now. Before I was not comfortable doing that with my wife. We now enjoy sharing about what God is saying to each of us and are able to talk about the vision for the future and pray together.

We do appreciate the kind of attention that you guys are giving us, it means a lot to us. Jeff I do not know you much and I have not even met you, we do not talk a lot about things, but you are like my own brother. I believe that there is a lot we will learn from each other about marriage, faith and life in general.

Continue to be a blessing to us and to others, one day we will be able to stand on a platform and talk to people about how the Lord helps you overcome challenges in marriage and in life and come out stronger than before. God richly bless you!

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The ABC’S of Getting on the Same Page With Your Spouse: R-Z!

We survived our vacation, and had a GREAT time! Thanks for being patient! 🙂

Continued from previous post…

R. Rally the Troops

Got kids? Will travel! One of the very best things that a parent (husband/wife team) can do for their marriage is to always speak positively to the children about their mother or father and SHOW this positivity through action. NEVER forget to advocate for your home team! Daddy is doing HIS BEST and mommy is too! Take your children on road trips with you, sales calls (mom and kiddos can play in the car, honest), have a lunch appointment? Why not bring the family and have them sit in another section of the restaurant or go next door? If you cannot be in a “family business” together, try treating your family as your #1 business, and you will be on the same page in NO time.

S. Set the DATE

Every couple needs to continuously DATE each other. The reality is that the children are going to grow up and move out, and if you don’t continue pursuing each other, when the kids are gone you will be strangers. Dating mommy and daddy alone can be hard, (and expensive) but it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Try trading sitting services with a neighbor to keep the cost down. If you have a child who is quiet and sits and colors during dinner know that THIS IS NOT A DATE. You need to be free to give googly eyes, talk about those bedtime moments, and most importantly RELAX. Also, it is important to realize that KIDS NEED TIME away from parents too! Kids need to learn how to be equitable around other adults and even the teenage babysitters can be a fun reprieve for most tots and kids. So when’s the next date night? Movie, dinner, pizza? ENJOY! (Once a week is preferred but once a month REQUIRED!)

T. Take the FIRST step

In my book, Wholehearted, I write in it some tips for helping resolve arguments in marriage and in order to encourage spouses to take the first step in resolving arguments:

Five Key Phrases to Calm-Down any Fight and Regain a Confident Relationship

 1. “Can you please forgive me?”

Try using this instead of “I’m Sorry.” When you ask for someone’s forgiveness, immediately you are assuming responsibility for the offense, and it will cause the other person to have to say “Yes,” or “No.” Giving you more to talk about while you are working through your issue of contention.

 2. “I understand how you feel, that would make me feel the same way too.”

Earnestly try and empathize with those that could be upset with you. Consider the “Big-Picture” of their issue. Why they are losing their patience with you? What has happened in the past that might be instigating their lack of confidence in you, is it still an issue? It might just be that they are tired, hungry, angry, or even lonely.

3. “I am sorry I disrespected you,” or “Can you please forgive me for showing you disrespect?”

Any time you mention respect to a man, you are speaking his language. Women respond to emotions like men respond to respect. As a woman, when you choose to apologize for disrespecting your husband, you are communicating to him effectively that your lack of confidence is not from his ability to perform or provide. In turn, women like be shown respect as well, you can show your wife you respect her by choosing to meet her needs, emotionally.

4. Wives, you may want to try this “Could you please help me understand where you are coming from? Is there a key issue, or bottom line that you would like me to understand?”

Even though this sounds more professional than marital, understand that when your husband is upset with you, or something you have done, he immediately will shut down and go into a work mode. He may come off icy at best, and will portray a professional demanding attitude. After all, this is how he deals with conflicts daily. Don’t be surprised if he begins to talk to you as a secretary or employee. If that happens, just try and stay as emotionally solid as possible, and play the role back to him. Because you have maintained equilibrium in the heat of an argument, your husband will learn to respect you, and feel respected at the same time.

5. Husbands, you may want to try this “Is there anything I can help you with? I understand that you are under a lot of stress right now with ‘xyz’, (try and be specific it will be more endearing and show that you have been listening) I would like to give you all of my attention until we can get this situation resolved… please show me again where and how I can help.”

If the situation has gotten beyond the ability to talk, do not be afraid to go up to your wife and give her hug, and let her cry. Most often the response when people get offended is to run away and shut off their tender mercies, but never underestimate the power of an authentic embrace. Sometimes that is all women need!

U. Understand where your spouse is coming from

How old was your spouse when their dad died? How long ago was their divorce? How many partners where they with before they married you? How young where they when you first met? Sometimes it is too easy to have tunnel vision and forget that our spouses, have had DIFFERENT life experiences than us. Even though as individuals we try really hard to overcome, these issues and the baggage from the past can creep up on us and get in the way of us having happier times. Know that this has NOTHING and EVERYTHING to do with you. It has NOTHING to do with you in regards to the fact that your spouse has had negative things out of your control happen to them. It has EVERYTHING to do with you in regards to the fact that your negative behavior is drawing out their issues. While it is always important for one to come face to face with the past, try to be a loving spouse and not be the cause of these painful flashbacks. The Lord will bring these issues to the surface in His OWN time… you really don’t need to be the one to provoke them. Understand your spouses issues, and leave “the fixing of them” up to God alone!

V. Visualize the future

Seeing past the ends of our noses can be hard enough let alone seeing the ends of our lives! But do your best to imagine it if you can! Taking the time to pause and visualize as a couple where you are going is long-term critical (especially if you have chosen to see divorce as a non-option). Can you see sitting on the front porch of your house in your nineties rocking in a rocking chair and drinking a mint iced tea with your spouse? Can you see those Great-great-grandkids running around on your property? There you and your spouse are; sitting, rocking, breathing in rhythm together. This is WHY you got married, to have someone to grow old with! I always envision holding hands as we rock in time together, looking out onto a crystal like lake with weeping willows all around us. Jeff and I leaning our old gray heads back on one of those really tall narrow ladder rockers. All our work is done for the moment, and together we sit basking in the Glory of old age in the Lord. Every couple desires to hear at the end of their marriage, “Well done good and faithful servant”, it isn’t too late for you. Forgive, and begin to visualize a forever TOGETHER.

W. Waiting is BEST

Waiting is waiting for a reason… to display character. A pregnant mother has 9 months in order to display to her family and the world her character and what kind of mother she is going to be. A potential father has 9 months to show to his wife how he will act as a new father. There is a period before you are hired, there is a period of waiting before you graduate, there is a period of waiting designed to abstain from sex before you wed… all in display of character. A future wife can tell how her husband will treat her and her children all by watching if he is able to restrain and self-discipline himself in regards to premarital sex. If he has no restraint for God’s Laws against fornication- than what will he display as a husband? If your future wife cannot wait to spend your monies, how will she be as a wife? Waiting is character building, and displaying. Is your future spouse worth waiting for? The same goes for married folks, are you willing to wait for promotion? Or have you made promotion a priority? I once heard a fellow say, “You can tell the size of a man best- by the size of the thing that makes that man mad.”

X. X-RAY your circumstances

There is a scripture that says, “A curse causeless shall not come” (Proverbs 26:2) in other words, negative things that happen in relationships (most always) are a result of something initially said or done that consequently ended up causing a negative reaction. What was it that was done initially to cause the rift in your relationship? If you can’t think of anything, ASK your spouse. If it is EVERYTHING, well then take a deep breath and ask your spouse if they can forgive you and what it is that you can do to make it up to them. What is their love language, gifts? Words of affirmation?  Acts of service? Quality time? Physical touch? Knowing how to speak love to your spouse upon x-raying the cause of your out-of-sync-ness, and then “making the loss up to them” through genuine acts of repentance, will get you and your spouse back on track in a heartbeat! (Resource is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman)

Y. YELL from the roof tops!

EVERYTHING you do toward and for your spouse should SCREAM how much you love them! Think about it, if you and your spouse both made the best decisions that you KNOW would bless your spouse above yourself, where would your relationship be? For example, let’s say you want a black car… she wants a white car. What do you do? Well, when you both are loving on each other with exuberance from the roof tops- you SHOULD be at a stalemate in the dealership, until one of you says “Baby, I will love you regardless of color of car, if white would make you happy then I am happy!” If the two of you are so lovey that you can’t decide what to do, them by all means flip a coin or something! But LOVE each other in your expenditures, love each other in your decisions, love each other in your travels! Where does your spouse want to go? What does your spouse love to do? Arrange date days around each others interests and every date will be an exciting one! No one said there was anything wrong with going to the ballet one night, and a boxing match the other. You are two different people who are capable of loving each other just the way you are… just make sure you do it and LOVE with your WHOLE heart!

Z. Zealously LOVE God

Lastly, I think it is very important to mention that we are to love God FIRST. Every marriage is “fixable”, by the end of this series you will know it to be true. However, no marriage is fixable without FIRST loving God. Anytime you need to withdraw love from God’s spiritual account, He is there. Anytime you need to count on God for support, He is there. Anytime you need to put the breaks on in your relationship and seek advice, He is there. God is THE BEST marriage counsellor around! He and His Word will ALWAYS be there for you and your entire family and all of your relationships! If there is a problem that you can’t seem to shake: adultery, pornography, lust, lasciviousness, alcoholism, debt, drugs, miscarriage, abuse, neglect… all of these things and then some can be turned toward Christ for FULL and complete healing. What is required? YOU. You turning your life over to the King of Kings and not being afraid of loss. There is ONLY ever gain for those who surrender to Christ. Begin to put His Word deep inside your heart, and watch what a man or woman in service to the Master can do. Those around you will either see your light and RUN for the hills (for fear of changing themselves) OR they will be drawn unto you and fall at the feet of the Master themselves. (Even those who run from righteousness will eventually turn to the Lord with time, be patient) Zealous love and pure faith comes with a price, giving God ALL control. This is THE BEST WAY to ensure that you and your spouse will get onto the same page… PERIOD.

 

 

Please stay tuned in for our next in this series, REAL Marriages, REAL Lives To continue in this series subscribe to email HERE

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