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 paper weights. 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, 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 an 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 be 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, 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, 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