Category Archives: Christian Marriage
The phrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” may sound romantic, but the truth is that apologies are essential parts of a healthy relationship. While a pair of gold earrings can help to smooth things over, it’s important to apologize in a way that will help your relationship grow.
Say it face to face. Email might be convenient, but it’s not the clearest form of communication. As you’ve probably already learned the hard way, it’s easy to misunderstand an email message because it lacks the emotion that you can convey with your body language and your tone. Emoticons are simply no match for face-to-face communication.
Own up. There’s a big difference between saying “I’m sorry you feel hurt” and taking responsibility for what you’ve done. While you may be sorry that your significant other is feeling slighted, apologizing for his or her feelings doesn’t demonstrate that you’re sorry you were the cause. Try starting with “I’m sorry I …” to show that you take responsibility for your actions.
Be specific. Which means more: “he’s a good guy” or “he goes out of his way to make me feel special, and brings me coffee each morning”? The more specific choice, right? The same thing goes when you’re apologizing: a specific “I’m sorry” is more meaningful than a general one. While this doesn’t mean that you need to rehash every detail of your mistake, you need to provide enough detail to give your apology significance. For example, instead of saying “I’m sorry I was rude,” try “I’m sorry I made fun of your cooking in front of your friends.”
Don’t place blame or rationalize. Yes, the other person may have things for which they need to apologize as well. Forget about that and focus on what you did when you apologize—this is one time in a relationship when it’s a good thing to focus on yourself. Avoid using the word “but” (for example, “I’m sorry I stayed late at the office without calling you, but you were snippy with me earlier in the day”), and simply apologize without rationalizing.
Prove yourself. Saying that you’re sorry is just the beginning. After you say the words you need to demonstrate that you mean them by changing your behavior (if the act for which you apologized was a habit) or avoiding making the same mistake again.
Go out of your way. Once you’ve apologized and begun to amend your ways, consider going out of your way to show your special someone that you value him or her. Flowers are always an appreciated gesture, but if you really want to demonstrate your love and appreciation, try a piece of jewelry such as a sparkling diamond heart pendant. By going out of your way to invest in the one you love, you can help to repair some of the damage.
Saying that you’re sorry is never fun, but it’s worth it. Try these tips for an apology that’s a step in the right direction for your relationship.
If you’ve been dating someone for a while, it’s easy to think that you all you need to know before you say “I do.” However, even if you’ve had the “kid talk,” there are still several important topics you should discuss that don’t always come up in normal conversation. Before you start wearing gold wedding rings, be sure that you ask and answer each of these questions together:
How was money handled in your family? Learning about how money was handled when your partner was growing up can provide clues as to how he or she deals with finances today, and it’s a low-pressure way to open a conversation about money. Try talking about whether your families were savers or spenders and then move on to discussing more specific issues such as how much of your income you want to spend on housing, and if and how you want to give to charitable causes.
What are you expectations regarding housework? The division of household work is often a source of contention for couples, and often, it’s because of a failure to communicate expectations. Many times, we form our presuppositions about housework in our families of origin and enter marriages without even realizing what we expect. Talk about who did what in your households when you were growing up, as well as what you’d like to differently. For example, who will be responsible for cooking dinner or cleaning the bathroom? What about paying bills? Sharing your expectations ahead of time can save you from a lot of disagreements later on.
Where do you want to be in 10 years? In other words, other than getting married, what are your goals? While having different goals isn’t necessarily a reason for concern, you do need to talk about how you can cooperate and compromise so that each of you can work toward the things that are important to you. If your goals are truly incompatible (for example, one of you wants to work on Wall Street and the other wants to work among orphans in Africa), it’s time for a serious conversation about how you’re going to make a lifelong relationship work.
How do you give and receive love? Different people communicate love in different ways, and it’s important for each of you to understand how the other gives and receives love so that you recognize the other person’s efforts to demonstrate their affection, as well as so that you can show your love for that person in a way that is meaningful. For example, some people communicate their affection through gifts such as romantic jewelry, while others offer compliments or give of their time. If you’re having trouble figuring out how you and your special someone communicate love, try asking about times when each of you really felt loved, and times when each of you felt like you effectively communicated your love. You’re likely to discover some patterns that offer helpful clues.
Don’t walk down the aisle without tacking these key questions. Yes, it takes a little effort, but it’s worth it.
Whether you’ve been dating for a few months, are planning your wedding or have been married for years, the Christmas season can easily become a time of year when you see less of each other. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with shopping, wrapping gifts and enjoying the festivities, these things can all cut into your couple time. Staying connected throughout the holidays often takes a little extra effort, but it’s always worth it.
If you’re planning a wedding on top of enjoying the holiday, you’re probably even busier, but it’s important to take time away from the whirlwind of seating charts and diamond engagement rings to spend some quality time together. It’s unlikely that you’ll look back on this Christmas season and wish that you had baked another batch of cookies or attended a particular party, but if you don’t spend time with the one you love most, you’re likely to regret it.
In “The Purpose-Driven Life,” Rick Warren writes,
Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.
It is not enough to just say relationships are important; we must prove it by investing time in them. Words alone are worthless. “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is “T-I-M-E.”
In other words, the best way to show another person that we love them is by giving them our time. This statement of love becomes even stronger when there any many things competing for our time and energy. By putting the one that you love first, you demonstrate that they are more important than anything on your to-do list.
While intentionally spending time with one another is important in any stage of a relationship, it can be especially critical if your white gold engagement ring hasn’t been on your finger very long. Engagement is a time to not only prepare for a wedding, but also to prepare for marriage, and everything you do during this time helps to establish the habits you’ll keep as a married couple.
So, how do you carve out some time just for the two of you? First, you need to make it a priority. Writing together time on your calendar may not seem very romantic, but by putting it on your schedule, you’re more likely to follow through. Second, you may need to say no to a few things that won’t really matter in a month or two.
Time is at a premium at Christmas, which makes it even more precious. Don’t miss this chance to give the one your love such a valuable gift.
Whether you’ve just started dating or you’ve been wearing yellow gold wedding bands for years, saying thank you is a vital piece of a healthy relationship. It doesn’t take long to express gratitude, nor does it take a lot of effort, but the payoff is huge, especially when you making saying thanks a habit.
Saying thank you is something that many of us learn to do as children, and it’s a habit that we should never outgrow. However, expressing gratitude shouldn’t merely be a habit like brushing your teeth or always tying your left shoe first. If you only say thank you because it’s what you’re used to doing, you miss out on the benefits of expressing your thanks, both for yourself and for your relationship.
When you take time to truly appreciate someone, it changes you. For example, if you take time to look your significant other in the eye and tell him why you appreciate him picking up your favorite takeout on a busy evening, you’ll feel much more gratitude than if you had half-heartedly mumbled “thanks for dinner” as you started to chow down.
Simply recognizing the specific things for which you’re thankful and expressing why you’re thankful for them cultivates an attitude of gratitude that helps you see the person you love in a more positive light. Research has even shown that being thankful can stave off depression. Even if saying thanks had no impact on your relationship, it would be worth it; however, the reality is that saying thank you is a key component in building a lasting bond between two people.
When you thank your partner for something they’ve done (Thanks for giving me a ride! You know how much I hate driving in the city and getting a ride from you was a big relief.) or for something they are (Thanks for being such a good listener.) you let them know that you appreciate them. Feeling appreciated in important in any relationship, but it’s crucial in a romantic relationship. No one wants to feel as if they and their contributions have gone unnoticed, and by demonstrating that you notice and appreciate your partner, you let them know that not only do you recognize their contributions; you value what they do and who they are.
Saying thank you for the little things can have a big impact over time as it grows in you an attitude of gratitude and reinforces your love and appreciation. If you have a hard time remembering to say thank you to the person you love most, consider designating something that you regularly see, such as a piece of jewelry, as a reminder. For married couples, wedding bands can serve this purpose, but that’s far from your only option. Just choose anything that you see often enough to make it an effective gratitude aid.
In a roundabout way, saying thank you is one way to say I love you. It communicates that you value the other person and, over time, it’s an essential building block in a lasting relationship. What’s not to love about that?
There are over 500 verses in the Bible as a whole related to marriage. Here are just ten of them. Some of them may surprise you, some of them may challenge you, hopefully all of them will provide encouragement, insight and wisdom.
Genesis 2:18, 21-24
And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him’….And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
1 Corinthians 7:1-2
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her
If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him.
Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
It is a sad fact of life that divorce in our 21st century society is on the rise. In the US alone nearly half of all marriages end in divorce and statistics among Christian marriages reflect the national average.
For Christians in particular, divorce is a last resort after all attempts at reconciliation have failed. Are there ever any circumstances where it is right for Christians to seek a divorce? Are we not contravening God’s laws in doing so?
Let’s have a look at what the Bible has to say about divorce.
God’s views on divorce are clearly stated in Malachi; ‘For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). This is later reiterated in the gospel of Matthew: ‘Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”(Matthew19:6).
Yet it seems there are also circumstances where is it permissible for a man and woman to divorce:-
‘But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.’ (Matthew 5:32).
Jesus seems to allow divorce where marital infidelity has occurred. This matter is complicated, however, in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 where Paul makes it clear that for those with a non-Christian husband or wife, they must not leave them unless the spouse desires it.
How complex it all seems when we are agonizing over our decision and praying over God’s will for our lives. When we are clinging desperately to the scraps of our marriage, such words only serve to reinforce our sense of failure.
So where does this leave us as we battle with our own guilt ridden emotions? We feel like we’re failing God, our family and ourselves.
There is no easy answer. As we debate over what all of this means in society today, we forget that we are humans and also sinners. Inevitably divorce will occur among Christians, no matter how we strive to live as God told us. That doesn’t mean that God loves us less.
Only God knows our heart, only He knows how hard we have tried to sustain our marriage. He has a plan for all of our lives so if we have fervently attempted to reconcile with our spouse to no avail, does it mean that this is part of God’s plans for us? Remember God can ultimately use everything for the good, even our perceived sins.
We all know that divorce is frowned upon by the Bible and by God but it remains a fact of life. We will always fall short of the glory of God; that is why Jesus died for us.
If you are emerging from what you feel is the wreckage of a marriage or on the cusp of a divorce after numerous attempts at patching things up, do not forget one essential truth.
Jesus loves you.
He is with you and loves you today and always. His love never fails. If you doubt it, when you feel yourself sinking in a morass of conflicting emotions, console yourself with these words:-
‘For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:38-39).