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So, You Married Your Opposite – Now What?

I MARRIED MY OPPOSITE

When my husband and I first met we only saw our similarities… there were SO many! From the fact our first names both started with “J” to our dreams, goals, and desires. This made the whole “courtship” process of 3 months easily do-able. When you believe you are marrying the better version of you – where is the hesitation to come from? NO WHERE!

It wasn’t until around the three year mark that I realized how opposite we were. The way we were raised: Christian vs Non-Christian, Siblings vs No Siblings, Rented House vs Purchased House… etc, etc. It was as if the “love cloud” that had made all our similar parts the only thing we could see had evaporated and what was left was two complete strangers living in the same house!

MWAH!

 

WHAT NOW?

It was upon this revelation that I was left with the decision to change things or just live miserably married. Divorce has never been an option for Jeff or I, as we decided to entirely remove it from our vocabulary (this is something I suggest all couples do). Just like in Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad,  Jeff and I had seen Happily Married Unhappily Married with our Grandparents and Parents and we chose “Happily Married” – even if it meant we had to become students of marriage.

At the five year mark (it took a couple years of me being uncomfortable) I began a serious book reading regime on marriage alone. I took to an at home University and “home schooled” myself in the art of marriage! Here are some of the book titles I devoured:

  • The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  • For Better of For Best by Gary Smalley 
  • Letters to Karen on Keeping Love in Marriage by Charles W Shedd
  • Personality Plus by Florence Littauer 
  • You Can if You Think You Can by Norman Vincent Peale
  • The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino
  • Self Love by Robert Schuller

Some of these titles as you can see are not “marriage” or relationship driven, but they are internal personality and over all psychology addressing. I believe WHOLEHEARTEDLY in what Brian Tracy (author of Focal Point a Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity, and Achieve Your Goals) calls the “leverage of others knowledge”. If the wheel has already been created… why not drive in their car?

Lollipops

RAINBOW LOLIPOPS

So I was reminded today (after nearly 18 years of marriage) about my husband and I and our differences (THANK GOD we are so different! He doesn’t “complete me” he makes me a BETTER me!) when I went to the bank. At the bank there is a big plastic bowl of lolipops and as our custom is, I ALWAYS pull out six of the same colored pop for our six children. ALL red, blue, etc. as to not induce strife. While I was carefully selecting ALL the pink ones (sometimes I laugh out loud at this fact alone considering the other people in line see this woman with hands full of pops) I couldn’t help but laugh because Jeff will ALWAYS pick six opposite colors when he goes to the bank! He thinks watching the kids negotiate and handle conflict is a hoot! It’s as if the challenge he watches them go through is so much better than the obvious peaceful alternative that I would present.

“I’M A BETTER ME BECAUSE HE IS OPPOSITE OF ME”

If this post today encouraged you to think about how the oppositeness of your spouse could actually be a strength instead of a weakness, consider saying to yourself “I’m a better me because he/she is the opposite of me.” Think about all the ‘scary’ things that you have been able to do since you have been married that you would have NEVER attempted if it weren’t for your “oppositeness”. Maybe you went to a fancy restaurant for the first time, tried a new food, went sky diving, or meet some new friends we really do have a lot to be thankful for in our opposing views! Think about how boring life would be if we were attracted to our exact replica! Yikes!

 

Jessica Heilman, Founder WHM

You can follow Jessica on twitter @ imwholehearted

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Jessica Heilman is the mother of six children ages 16-1, lives in San Jose, California and has been married to Jeff Heilman for nearly 18 years. You can read their marriage testimony here: We Decided to Get Married on Our First Date!

 

WHY I KEEP SHOCKING IMAGES ON MY WALL

car

 

A LAMBORGHINI?

YES. I actually keep a picture of an “in your face” lime green Lambo taped by Washi tape on my wall above my computer. To those who strive for piety, this is SHOCKING for those who have a morbid fascination with the despondent of humanity… you aren’t shocked at all (you were probably hoping for a severed limb or something). I call it shocking because to a mom of six, an IN YOUR FACE LAMBO is the complete opposite of a Toyota Sienna, and frankly it inspires me.

LOUIS VUITTON, NEW YORK CITY, GUCCI… MOTIVATED INCORRECTLY 

Back in my MLM days we were promised that if we surrounded ourselves with pictures of material possessions we would one day get them. 10 years ago I had pictures of Ferrari’s, airplanes, golf courses, and mega-mansions all over the place. Unfortunately though I had been mislead, and no matter how hard I “meditated” on a Ferrari our 1986 Volvo just didn’t transform. This type of materialistic wishful thinking only made me mad, bitter, and frustrated. I can remember seriously CRYING driving through nice neighborhoods looking at open houses – and not being able to buy them. It wasn’t long before I was surrounded by clean wall squares in place of vividly colored material imagery.

I FOUND WHOLENESS and WANTED NOTHINGNESS 

When I received the message on “wholeness” and began preaching on it, wanting material things – JUST FOR THE SAKE OF HAVING THEM – became moot. After all, when you have Jesus in your heart you don’t need for anything! A WHOLE human being realizes as a new creation that even their SPIRIT is lacking nothing. Let me remind you before we go on… YOU ARE WHOLE, CHRIST HAS MADE YOU WHOLE YOU DON’T “NEED” STUFF.

So why the fancy things again… what has changed?

My Wall

 

INSPIRATION!!!

How does one use material items as motivation in the correct way? Through inspiration! OH how that Lambo inspires me! It is like all of the most talented engineers in the automotive industry came together and designed the perfect sports car, and I get to look at it! It inspires me to write a little better, design a little broader, and reach a little further. the simple truth: SURROUNDING YOURSELF BY THE BEST MOTIVATES YOU TO BE YOUR BEST.

I carry a LV “handbag” and I am not ashamed of it. Could the price of it feed the hungry? YES. Do I feed the hungry? YES. Currently we as a corporation give to 10+ selected benefactors, more than one of these feed the homeless. What I found with this bag is that when I “wear” it… I dress nicer, think clearer, stand taller, and read more success thinking type books. Funny how I never used to do that with my Target purses, sweaty old yoga pants seemed to be “ok”. (And my business suffered for it!)

Am I materialistic? I don’t think so… not at all. I like to think I am INSPIRED. LIFE IS HARD. When you are focused on personal growth, success and serving others you are working FULL TIME.

What is easy? Drifting. Drifting is easy. “Going with the flow” and letting life run away from you – that’s easy. “Materialistic” people are people who do what THEY HATE to do for a living, just to buy stuff. Today I DO WHAT I LOVE TO DO and since I am just an “up start” this comes with a heavy price. Lack of sleep, fast food, no time off, and lack of sleep (oh wait did I already mention that?). NO… the Lambo doesn’t motivate me to go out and get an MBA or a job as a Corporate Lawyer or Tax Attorney, it INSPIRES me to make an improvement here – a small change there. I become in turn more productive, and more successful. With this success I am inspired to GIVE more. That’s how it works.

So what inspires you?

CordeValle

dreamy kitchen Monaco_opera_034

pretty

To learn more about Jessica’s newest business please visit: www.wholeheartart.com

To read more blogs like this one: www.wholeheartedministries.com

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ARE YOU AFRAID FOR YOUR KIDS?

 

Kids May Be Resilient But What About YOU?

Having six kids, I have no shortage of stressful experiences. Each time one of our children climbs a tree, goes outside or as a teen gets behind the wheel of a car I am provided an opportunity for worry. The Bible however is very clear about worry and tells us simply not to. It says, “Be anxious for nothing.” How then can we as parents build up OUR OWN resilience and learn to trust that our little bambinos are in God’s hands and are not in need of constant parental care?

Proverbs 22:6 in the Message version says, “Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost.”

In the King James it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

These scriptures are pivotal for believing parents because in the original text what the Word is suggesting is that every child has a natural tendency. Every child has a gift or a talent of their own installed in them from God, and if you take the time to watch your child and see what naturally inspires them, you will learn a great deal about what motivates them to succeed. As a matter of fact most of the men and women who have grown up to become anything at all had parents who allowed them to exercise their talents at a young age, encouraged them, and allowed them to GO FOR IT!

SMART MOVE

As young parents we believed that giving our children allowances for chores was not what we wanted to do. We believed that our children should do what comes as being a member of the family (CHORES) without financial recompense. When the family as a “team” is in need we believe that everyone should chip in without expectation of a financial return. Instead of payment for what is required, after a day of hard work we usually go get ice cream, take a drive, or go to the park. John C. Maxwell Author, Pastor and Leadership Expert once said, “My dad never paid me for chores. He paid me for reading, every time I read a book – I got paid.” Due to our agreement with this philosophy, we as a family have instigated this same principle. We pay our children to read .01$ cent per page, and more for the classics (based on the level of vocabulary needed and in agreement with recommended reading). We have each child fill out a “reading time sheet”, and on a piece of binder paper they list the name of the book they have read, and the number of it’s pages. When their sheet is filled out, they turn it in. Last week our oldest son turned in his sheet and had earned 50+$! WOW!

In addition to encouraging our children read, we have also paid very close attention to what comes naturally to them and what they LOVE to do. When our oldest son LOVED Lego’s and building, we would monthly budget for new Lego sets just for him. When our second son showed a desire to dive (into swimming pools) we budgeted to get him lessons. When our daughter showed a desire to dance, we budgeted for her to take ballet. Notice that I mention we BUDGETED in order to put priority into our children getting the oppurtunity to do these activities. We took money from some other area: cable TV, buying new clothes, eating out, etc. so that we could easily afford to encourage them in what came naturally. I believe that when we choose to watch our children succeed in what comes naturally to them it draws them closer to God, builds thier self worth and gives us as parents the confidence that our children have a positive future to look forward to. There then becomes “NO FEAR”, because there is no uncertainty. Children can become free to be – exactly what God wants them to be!

DUMB MOVE

Our fourth child is highly energetic and naturally challenging. He won’t just say “OK MOM”, he has to say “WHY?” Once I heard him say at five years old, “Well, I’m going to do it this way instead!” For me this is a harder child to handle than the rest because the rest are very obliging. If Indiana Jones was a real person, our little Andrew would be just like him! The dumbest thing that I have ever done is to treat Andrew like the rest of our children, the dumbest thing I could ever do is try to take away the independent spirit that God put in him!

Andrew is unlike the others, and God made him that way. God made him to climb mountains, forge through forests, swim in rivers. God made his boy to be brave and overcome obstacles. The dumbest thing as a parent I could ever do would be to attempt to take away his desire for adventure, his hunger for action and his natural tendency to lead others by “mother henning” him. While I discipline him, I discipline him differently than the rest. Rather than tossing him into “time outs”, or spanking him, most often his discipline comes from sitting down and talking to him helping him understand why what he is doing isn’t safe, isn’t healthy, isn’t productive and then letting him know how much we love him. Amellia Earhart once said – “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”

You Will Get Stronger in Your Faith

You as a parent will grow stronger in your faith and security once you begin to watch and encourage your children in what motivates them. I have no shadow of a doubt that our little Andrew is going to do something great with his life, and that he is going to overcome any obstacle set in front of him because we repeatedly tell him how great he is, and we allow him to climb trees, knock on the neighbors door, and be bold in his actions. We are just as confident in our older children because we have watched them as individuals and treat each one separately guiding them in their individual ways they should go. What about you? What are you doing to get rid of fear and encourage your “babies” in what they love to do??

 

As an encouraging and uplifting community we at WHM welcome your comments/replies/and funny stories!!

 

Other posts in this series:

Day 30: UPSET TUMMIES

Articles on relaxing and receiving more faith:

http://wholeheartedministries.com/relax

 

 

The ABC’s of a Healthy & Happy Marriage

Perfect for married couples that are unhappy and needing help, couples needing encouragement, and singles who need to know what to expect when the happy day occurs. This list will equip you with some tricks and tips that you can apply in relationships toward your own “Happily Ever After”… Here is to a love that lasts!

A. ALWAYS clear up an offense before bed.

Make the commitment that you will stay up until sun up if it means resolving issues before you go to sleep. “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Eph 4:26

B. BE careful what you say…

Your words to your spouse carry great subconscious and conscious weight. Whatever you find yourself saying or insinuating will come back to you. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

C. CHOOSE to love your spouse.

God created that man or woman for you, and if you are ever going to be evenly yoked you must realize that LOVING them is the first step, just the way they are. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

In all your getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

D. DETERMINE to better yourself personally, and grow in your understanding of God’s Word and understanding of the purpose and plans God has for your life.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11

E. EXCEPT your marriage!

Except the fact that you are married and going to be with your spouse FOREVER, no going back. Every couple has struggles. Every couple will go through things, because in life we go through things regardless of marital status. Sickness, health, death, birth, stress, joy, sorrow, love, hate… you as a single person will go through all of this, if you have found a mate, YOU ARE BLESSED! “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Proverbs 5:18

F. FORGIVE yourself for being harsh, and forgive your spouse for responding harshly.

“You can attract more flies with honey than vinegar.” The best way to win your spouse to your cause is to treat your spouse fairly, and to be patient in your pursuit of your livelong dream or vision. “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:4

G. GET DREAMING half the time husband and wife teams are at odds with each other because they have nothing left to work toward.

The kids are grown and their work is on autopilot… now what? It is time for you and your spouse to get on the same page about your dreams, and see what you two can do together! A store, a bed and breakfast, a travel agency? Go in business together, you’ll do GREAT! “I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:19

H. HELP each other, God wasn’t kidding when He created woman to be man’s helper.

God made women for men, and He did it with a divine purpose a Master plan! Set your mind to help your husband, and husbands recognize that wives are there to HELP you get your job done. This means in PARTNERSHIP. Partners can help, employees are dictated to. Treat each other as “helpers” NOT employees. “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Genesis 2:18

I. IGNORE people around you who tell you it can’t be done and that happily married “isn’t” possible.

 These people are negative dream stealers and are NOT going to ensure your marital happiness. Sometimes being alone (apart from in-laws, sisters, brothers, friends) is the BEST way a couple can cope with their problems. Dig deep in the Word, go to a Word filled church and begin finding mentors who have been married longer and in the faith greater than you have been. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

J. JUST DO IT!

Nike wasn’t kidding when they put into the minds of every potential aspiring athlete the axiom to Just Do it! They went at their ad campaign as vigorously as their own motto suggests. To this day, Nike is known best by their logo and their famous mantra.

As married individuals, we too must JUST DO IT! We must DECIDE that being on the same team with our spouse is more important to us than having a plethora of friends. You must decide today, that if you are going to operate successful relationships in your life, it will involve the understanding that you do not have to be right all the time. Let your spouse participate in your relationship by offering suggestions, ideas, dreams and visions of their own… discuss your dreams with them, and commit to getting them done! “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Eph 5:21

K. KICK complacency to the CURB!

Complacency has NO place in the Kingdom of God, and it has NO place in relationships either. People who stop growing personally become like paperweights. Other than keeping things from “blowing away”, they are of no use. Waking daily in routine, going to work daily in routine, coming home daily in routine, eating, sleeping, TV watching… etc. Is NOT growing.

Groundhog Day is the name of a movie, and should not be the epitomized lifestyle. Give your life a chance! Do something new TODAY! Visit a new store, walk a new path, read a new book. We are all creatures of habit, and it is time to create a NEW habit… a positive habit of daily exploration and embracing. There is no better way to kill a marriage off and kill it off quick, than to watch a spouse do nothing but sit idly by. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” Col 3:23

L. LOVE Christ FIRST.

Surprisingly enough, most “Christians” do not do this. They think that they understand “love”, they “love” their spouses, they “love” their jobs, they “love” their cars, and they “love” their kids. However without the true agape love of Christ in their lives, they CANNOT LOVE AT ALL. Infatuate yes, like yes, desire and lust after yes-yes-yes… but LOVE NO. The Bible says that “GOD IS LOVE”, which means that when you put GOD first place in your life… AND ONLY THEN… will you ever know love and then be able to give love to others.

You see receiving Christ is receiving an overflowing reservoir of love, just like a bubbling well pours over the edge of the wall, so Christ’s love pours out our hearts and into the lives of others. We can ONLY love our spouses unconditionally, if we have a personal relationship with Christ and can draw from that well.” We love Him, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

M. MAN UP.

As a wife, there is nothing more attractive than a husband who knows his place in God’s Kingdom and chooses to walk in his authority. In today’s society, there tends to be apathy upon men, a desire to trade in their covenant promised dominion for the security of women who will mother them (as God has designed them) and make all their decisions for them.

If you are a husband who deeply desires to have your wife join you in your dreams or visions, you must lead her in your vision and stand firm. Explain to her that things are going to change- but for the better. Then begin making tough calls and standing by them. Your wife will respond favorably as long as all the changes and corrections to your behavior are done based on the Word of God and in love. “Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor, every face turned deathly pale?” Jeremiah 30:6

N. NO NEGATIVITY.

In his amazing book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie devotes an entire chapter to the “Three C’s” and admonishes us in relationships to NEVER Criticize, Condemn, or Complain. Can you imagine living this way? Jesus did! Think of the woman caught in the act of adultery… what did Jesus say? “Let you who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Jesus also reminds us that having a critical spirit is like a man or woman who witnesses situations with a log in their eye, whatever issue you have in your life will be magnified and projected onto those who you are in relationship with. If you live life by the three c’s in your own self-image, always criticizing yourself, you will be instinctively critical of others. For example, if you are cluttered in your drawers or purse… chances are you see your spouse as a slob. Your personal view will always rub off onto others. Practice living a life FREE of negativity, for yourself AND your spouse. Better to not say anything at all, than to say something negative. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 23:7

O. Offer your assistance.

How many times has your spouse carried in the groceries while you sat on the couch? I think it would be pretty unrealistic to say “never”. However it is time to take chivalry back, and begin being gentlemen and ladies again. Husbands, your wife according to the Bible “is the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7) and WILL do all the work if you let her, but you must not let her.

Offer to help, offer your assistance. Let her choose between help or no help. Don’t just assume “she’s got this”. Ladies, your husband needs your help. He needs you to support him and encourage him and he needs you to nourish his soul and his spirit. Begin offering your assistance to him in everything that you can. This can be as simple as offering your spouse a glass of water, when it is yourself that needs one. “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

P. Put the Children #3.

Here is the order in which we choose to live by: God # 1, Spouse #2, Children #3, Job #4, Business (or extra income earning potential) #5. Every couple with children must recognize that kids are going to grow and leave the home. As you put God first place in your life your spouse should be #2. What does this mean? This means decisions about the children are always deferred to and spoken about by the parents first, it also means mommy and daddy make time to go on date nights together (just the two of them), and that the kids KNOW that daddy and mommy love each other the MOST.

If you ask our kids today “Who does daddy love BEST?” they will all say “MOMMY!” Children need to recognize that there is a God-given pecking order and NO it is not Daddy, Mommy, and Eldest child. It is God > Daddy & Mommy > Kiddos. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Mark 10:7-9

Q. QUIT running home to your mommy and daddy for support.

I never suggested that the ABC’s would be easy to stomach. As a matter of fact I might loose some readers on this statement plain and simple. It is time for American couples to quit running to their parents for money or moral support against each other, and begin living on their own!

Sometimes family can help, like in transition periods. We have relocated at least three times, and in each case we stayed with family as we found a new home. However, we always worked and offered to pay our way. Never staying with them beyond just a few months. The time it took for us to find and locate a place of our own. As a new couple, if we asked for money… we always felt HORRIBLE, and quickly traded “asking parents” for “asking GOD”. As a wife I disciplined myself to talk to my husband only when we had issues and not my mother. As a husband, Jeff decided to get multiple jobs versus borrowing.

We are not saints in this department as we have owed family money in the past but this is not the optimal situation, and as hindsight is 20/20 it was ALWAYS a mistake.

It is better to not borrow, it is better to work. It is better to not pour out your problems on your parents. They will begin forming negative opinions of their son or daughter in-laws. Parents will always favor their own child. If you would like to have a happy marriage, choose to speak only highly of your spouse when dealing with your parents and make a vow between the two of you that YES, YOU CAN do it- you CAN live on YOUR OWN. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife” Genesis 2:24

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 positively 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), or maybe even to lunch meetings. 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 break from the norm for most tots and kids. So when’s the next date night? Movie night, dinner, or 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, and 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 rooftops!

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 lovely 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 other’s 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” Christ has proven that with God all things are possible. 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 counselor 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 surrendering your will to the Lord who wrote all the rules, 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.

Pray for Your Friends

“And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10

This is one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible. It shows us that not only can the Lord redeem us, He can take a horribly tramatic situation and turn it around instantly. Job had a hard time of it. He was plagued by the enemy, he lost his children, his wealth and everything else that he held dear – even the support of his friends! The Bible says however that when Job began to pray for his friends the Lord turned his captivity and gave him twice as much as he had before!

I woke up last night with this scripture of Job’s on my heart, and my husband sleeping diagonally across the bed. Ordinarily I would have shoved and pushed him over to his side (maybe even kicked), but after the remembrance of that particular scripture, I decided instead to pray for my husband. I prayed that the Lord would give him a goodnight’s rest, and that he would thoroughly enjoy his sleep.

As I was praying, I began to think of all the days that I pray for myself compared to the time I spend praying for others, and it really was of little comparison. Praying for others takes on an important role in the turning of our captivity. It opens your heart, takes your mind off of your own needs, and blesses those who may not have any idea how to pray for themselves.

Friends, I pray that as you go through your day today you too would begin to feel the blessing of taking your mind off your own needs and focusing instead on spiritually aiding in the needs of others- let us move away from captivity and toward the freedom of Christ!

God bless you friends! We’re praying for you!

Jessica Heilman is founder of Wholehearted Ministries in San Jose, Ca. You can read more about her and her ministry work by clicking HERE.