The 30 Day Spouse Encouragement Challenge – Day 1

Wives: To refresh your memory…here’s the 30-Day Encouragement Challenge…for the next 30 days:

  • You can’t say anything negative about your husband …to your husband…or to anyone else, about your husband. *
  • Say something that you admire or appreciate about your husband…to your husband…and to someone else, about your husband!

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Prov. 31:11-12

To help you get started, have you ever thanked your husband for “choosing you” above all other women? He found you attractive as a person, and appreciated you. Though many circumstances in your marriage may have changed, let your husband know that you are glad God led you together, and that you want to be a blessing to him for the rest of your marriage. Let him know that he can trust you to be in his corner.  One of the best opportunities to express your gratitude is first thing in the morning. How do you greet your husband each morning? Is he confident in your love? Give him a ”wake up call” that he’ll never forget-a big “I love you” and an “I’m so glad I’m your wife!”

© Revive Our Hearts. Used with permission. www.reviveourhearts.com

Husbands: For the next 30 days, these two ground rules will be the basis of your relationship with your wife:

  • You can’t say anything negative about your wife… to your wife… or to anyone else about your wife.
  • Say something that you admire or appreciate about your wife… to your wife… or to someone else about your wife every day.

“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. ” Gen 2:18

As a Christian, you must know that men and women bring to the marriage different strengths, gifts, and outlooks on life and love. Think about some ways that your wife is “good for you,” ways in which she makes you and/or your life better. Is she the one that brings color to your life by decorating the home and making it enjoyable to come home? Does she inspire you to try new things that you would not have tried otherwise? Do you still get that warm, gushy feeling when she looks at you and smiles to tell you that she is glad you chose her?

  • Make a list of ways your life is better because of your wife.
  • Share the list with your wife and tell her how good it is that she is your helper and that you are not alone.

These words, coming from the most important man in her life, will bring great joy and encouragement to your wife.

Written and distributed by Claudia J. Pate. www.theanniversaryshop.wordpress.com

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The 30 Day Spouse Encouragement Challenge

Hello My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

For the past 16 days my wifey friends and I have been following Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ 30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge for Wives. I happened to be looking for the “Wife Encouragement Challenge for Husbands” equivalent and ran across another blog that has the challenge listed. I’m going to share the content of both of these challenges with you each day for 30 days so husbands and wives can do this challenge together. There are two purposes of this challenge (1) to help us to be come more spiritually connected with our spouse and (2) to learn God’s expectation of the way we conduct ourselves in marriage.

For the next 30 days, these two ground rules will be the basis of your relationship with your spouse:

  • You can’t say anything negative about your spouse… to your spouse… or to anyone else about your spouse.
  • Say something that you admire or appreciate about your spouse… to your spouse… or to someone else about your spouse every day.

Message to the Wives and Husbands:  Wives, this challenge will require you to humble yourselves. Husband, this challenge will require contemplation, vulnerability, and action. I’d like to encourage you to keep track of what God does in your marriage over this next month. I hope you’ll take time to share what God does in your home as you bless and encourage your spouse.

Best of luck with the challenge,

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31 Days of Praying for Your Husband

Follow me on this journey as we spend the next 31 days in prayer for our husbands. Women who are engaged or hope to be married some day can pray these prayers too…just adapt them for the future. It is okay, and probably best that you begin praying for your husband before God even reveals him to you. Husbands who wish to practice assuming their biblical role in marriage can also pray that points mentioned each day in this post can be applied to their own lives. The 31 Days of prayer is not only meant to bring you closer to God but also to encourage you to begin and continue to trust God to work in your husband and in yourselves. Lets get started.

“She does him good . . .” (Proverbs 31:12a)

Bless your husband by praying for him! The Apostle Paul instructed all Christians to pray for one another (Ephesians 6:18). This includes wives’ responsibility and privilege to pray for their husbands. Earnest prayer for your husband is good for him, for you and the spiritual health of your home (Proverbs 31:11-12).

Satan desires to destroy your husband, especially his character and his leadership in your relationship. Trust God through prayer as you daily surrender your husband and marriage to the Lord’s wise, loving care.

Day 1
Pray that your husband will grow spiritually and consider his accountability before the Lord. Pray that he will guard his heart by developing spiritual disciplines—Bible reading and study, prayer, meditation, scripture memorization, etc. (2 Peter 3:18; Prov. 4:23)

Day 2
Pray that your husband’s relationship with God and His Word will bear fruit in his life. Pray that he will be a man of wisdom and understanding, fearing the Lord. (Prov. 3:7, 9:10; Ps. 112:1)

Day 3
Pray that your husband will be humble and quick to agree with God about his sin. Pray that his heart will be tender toward the voice of the Lord. (Ps. 51:2-4; Micah 6:8)

Day 4
Pray that your husband will grow in leadership skills in your relationship—protecting and providing for you. Pray that he will lead you wisely and love you sacrificially, so that God will be glorified in your marriage. (Eph. 5:25-29; Col. 3:19)

Day 5
Pray that your husband will be faithful to his wedding vows. Pray that he will have a desire to cultivate your relationship as a sign of his loyalty and commitment to you, and as a picture of Christ’s love for the Church. (Prov. 20:6; Gen. 2:24)

Day 6
Pray that your husband will love righteousness and hate wickedness, especially the evils of the culture. Pray that he will recognize and avoid wickedness in his own life, and if necessary, take a clear, strong stand against evil. (Prov. 27:12; John 17:15; 1 Cor. 10:12-13)

Day 7
Pray that your husband will safeguard his heart against inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex. Pray that his heart will be pure and undivided in his commitment to you. (Prov. 6:23-24, 26; Rom. 13:14)

Day 8
Pray that your husband will work hard to provide for your family, to the best of his ability. Pray that the character qualities necessary for a successful career and ministry will be a growing part of his character—persistence, decisiveness, strength, an analytical mind, organizational skills, positive relationships with people, determination, etc. (Rom. 12:11; 1 Cor. 15:58)

Day 9
Pray that your husband handle finances wisely, will have discernment concerning budgeting and investments, and will be a good steward of his money in regard to giving to the Lord’s work. Pray that money will not become a source of discord in your family. (Prov. 23:4-5; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:5)

Day 10
Pray that your husband will cultivate strong integrity, and not compromise his convictions. Pray that his testimony will be genuine, that he will be honest in his business dealings, and will never do anything that he needs to hide from others. (Prov. 20:7; 1 Tim. 1:5, 3:7; Eph. 6:10-12)

Day 11
Pray that your husband will have a humble, teachable spirit and a servant’s heart before the Lord. Pray that he will listen to God and desire to do His will. (Prov. 15:33; Eph. 6:6)

Day 12
Pray that your husband will yield his sexual drive to the Lord and practice self-control. Pray that your sexual intimacy together will be fresh, positive, and a reflection of selfless love. (Prov. 5:15, 18; 1 Cor. 7:3; Song of Solomon 7:10)

Day 13
Pray that your husband use practical skills to build your family and make wise decisions for your welfare. Pray that he will serve unselfishly. (Gal. 5:13; Phil. 2:3-4)

Day 14
Pray that your husband will speak words that build you and your family, and reflect a heart of love. Pray that he will not use filthy language. (Prov. 18:21; Eph. 4:29)

Day 15
Pray that your husband will choose his friends wisely. Pray that God will bring him men who will encourage his accountability before God, and will not lead him into sin. (Prov. 13:20; Prov. 27:17)

Day 16
Pray that your husband will choose healthy, God-honoring activities. Pray that he will not live in bondage to any questionable habits or hobbies, but that he will experience freedom in holiness as he yields to the Spirit’s control. (1 Cor. 6:12, 10:31; 2 Tim. 2:4)

Day 17
Pray that your husband will enjoy his manliness as he patterns his life after Christ and strong men in the faith. Pray for his physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual strength. (Eph. 3:16; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Cor. 10:11)

Day 18
Pray that your husband will have an eternal perspective—living in light of eternity. Pray that he will reject materialism and temporal values and put God first in his life. (Matt. 6:33; Deut. 6:5; Eph. 5:16; Ps. 90:12)

Day 19
Pray that your husband will be patient and a man of peace. Pray that he will not give in to anger, but will allow the Holy Spirit to control his responses. (Rom. 14:19; Ps. 34:14)

Day 20
Pray that your husband will yield his mind and thoughts to the Lord. Pray that he will not entertain immoral or impure thoughts, and that he will resist the temptation to indulge in pornography. (Prov. 27:12; 2 Cor. 10:5)

Day 21
Pray that your husband will learn how to relax in the Lord and, in his greatest times of stress, find joy and peace in his relationship with God. Pray that he will submit his schedule to the Lord. (Neh. 8:10; Prov. 17:22; Ps. 16:11)

Day 22
Pray that your husband will practice forgiveness in your relationship and with others. Pray that he will recognize any roots of bitterness, and yield any resentment and unforgiving attitudes to the Lord. (Eph. 4:32; Heb. 12:15)

Day 23
Pray that your husband will be a good father—disciplining his children wisely and loving them unconditionally. If he is not a father, pray that he will find a young man to mentor in the things of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21; 2 Tim. 2:1-2)

Day 24
Pray that your husband will have a balanced life—that he will balance work and play. Pray that he will fear God, but also gain favor with people he knows at work and church. (Luke 2:52; Prov. 13:15)

Day 25
Pray that your husband will be courageous in his stand against evil and injustice, and that he will stand for the truth. Pray that he will protect you and your family from Satan’s attacks. (Ps. 31:24; Eph. 6:13; Ps. 27:14)

Day 26
Pray that your husband will discover and live his God-given purpose. Pray that he will offer all his dreams to the Lord, and pursue only those goals that will bring God glory and count for eternity. (Jer. 29:11; 1 Cor. 10:31)

Day 27
Pray that your husband will understand the importance of taking care of his body—the temple of the Holy Spirit—for the glory of God. Pray that he will practice self-control by making wise food choices, and get sufficient exercise to stay healthy. (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 6:19-20, 9:27)

Day 28
Pray that your husband will be a man of prayer. Pray that he will seek and pursue God in purposeful quiet times. (1 Thess. 5:17; Luke 22:46; James 5:16)

Day 29
Pray that your husband will surrender his time and talents to the Lord. Pray that his spiritual gifts will be manifest in his career, at church, and in your home. (Eph. 5:15-16; 1 Cor. 12:4, 7)

Day 30
Pray that your husband will serve God and others with pure motives. Pray that he will obey the Lord from his heart, and glorify Him in everything. (1 Cor. 10:13; John 7:17-18; Col. 3:23-24)

Day 31
Pray that your husband will recognize the lies of the Enemy in his life. Pray that his attitudes and actions will be guided by the truth as he brings his thoughts into captivity to the Word of God. (John 8:44; 2 Cor. 10:4-5)

© Revive Our Hearts. Used with permission. www.reviveourhearts.com

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God Wants You To Have Sex!

Sex was designed by God as an important part of marriage, not only for procreation but also for our enjoyment and pleasure. While marriage does not solely depend on sex in order to be a success, it is difficult to have a successful marriage without it. When we think about the word marriage, a word that should come to mind is “service.” Husbands and wives have a duty to serve one another and the real benefit is that when we serve each other, we are also serving God. Possibly the most fun and easy way that married couples can serve God is through love-making. Wives are called to submit to their husbands. One way you can submit to your husband is by giving yourself to him sexually. Husbands are called to love their wives. What better way to show your wife that you love her than to make love to her? (I’m not discounting the other ways here, but those ways can become self-serving and not God serving.) Did you know your spouse has authority over your body? (1 Corinthians 7:4) Now some of you may be saying, wait a minute Wifey, what do you mean my spouse has authority over my body??? Well you heard read it right! They do! Now hopefully you don’t have the type of spouse that would abuse this authority. I hope you all have spouses that practice the principles of love and respect, and are compassionate and understanding when you are tired, not feeling well or whatever other reason you feel you might not be particularly “up for sex,” but it needs to be mutually agreed upon. If not, the act is considered a corruption of the normal marriage process.  But if you can, you should engage in regular sex with your spouse. Not because I said so, but because the Word of God says so.

Let’s visit 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 and then I’ll offer up some thoughts that married Christians (or even Christians who want to marry) should know about what the Word says about sex and marriage.

2To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband; and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5Defraud ye not the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

1. Sex was created for marriage.

I read an article that has a comment that I totally agree with, “Marriage is one of the most rewarding, meaningful and misunderstood of all God’s institutions. Marriage is special because it mirrors Christ’s relationship with the church; it’s also a personal and covenantal expression of His enduring love. Many elements of marriage are complex and misinterpreted by society, particularly in the area of sex. Sex is a holy and natural act meant for both pleasure and procreation. God ordained sex to occur only within marriage, and it’s the responsibility of each partner to sexually satisfy the other. Sex is the highest form of intimacy two humans can have, which distinguishes marriage from any other natural relationship.”

If you just look in the back of any Bible and look up the words adultery and/or fornication you will easily find scripture supporting that God does not desire for us to have premarital or extramarital sex (I won’t go into all of that here). He created sex for married people as a way for us to strengthen the bond in our marriage and encourage oneness, to glorify Himself, and to reinforce the ideas of submission and love. When you have sex with your spouse you should feel closer to him/her, more like one instead of two. You should feel a deepening of the love shared between the two of you. This is exactly what God wants from husbands and wives, to be in a state of oneness. Isn’t it incredible that God is glorified when we are intimate with our spouse? Have you ever heard the saying, “God gave Adam a wife, not a sister.” Chew on that a while.

You can take a break from having sex but it needs to be mutually agreed and only for a short while, so be careful upon doing so. Have you ever felt this way? I’m tired, we’re tired. I’m working so often, taking care of the kids and handling so many other activities that I just don’t feel like it. What if God decided that He was too tired for you? What if He decided He had too many other things to do than to make sure you had that job that makes you so tired everyday? Even when we are tired we as Christians are still to be committed to being servants of Christ. He never promised that every day would be wonderful and he never promised that we would not become tired on our journey with Him. In fact what He did say was: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23. He also said that if we hope in Him, He would renew our strength. Isaiah 40:31. And possibly the most important promise (and what remains the dominating theme in Christianity) if we are obedient to his word, great is our reward in Heaven (Matthew 5:12). Therefore we have to prioritize intimacy with our spouse. The word says your body is not your own but belongs to your spouse. So even if you don’t feel like it, remember this the next time you want to say no to sex: You are missing an opportunity to serve God by serving your spouse. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to imply by any means that sex should become like a job or a chore. What I am saying is that sex is an integral part of your marriage that you should use to help yourself be more obedient and service oriented to God.

2. Sexual denial can be spiritually dangerous.

The Bible doesn’t tell us how often a married couple should have sex, but it does tell us that a couple is to abstain only when it is a mutual decision.  1 Corinthians 7:5 tells us, “Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” Mutual consent should be your rule for how often a married couple should have sex. The Rule: Abstaining from sex must be agreed upon, and that even when it is agreed upon, it should only be for a short time. Although we have authority over our spouses bodies, sex should not be withheld or demanded. Spouses must compromise on the frequency of sex.

While The Hubs and I were receiving Christian premarital counseling our minister told us one very important thing that I want to share with you today. He explain to us that the only time it mentions in the Bible that Satan has an opportunity to interfere in our marriages, by introducing temptations, is when we stop being sexually intimate with our spouse. Satan can very subtle to incredibly obvious in his attempt to destroy our Christian home. Often times that destruction starts in the bedroom. If we neglect our spouse sexually, the door will be opened for hurt feelings and needs left unattended which will lead to temptation. This giving in to temptation could lead to the destruction of your Christian marriage.

God knew that we would struggle with temptation, even within marriage, which is one of the reasons that he created marriage; to help us keep those struggles in check. The Word of Truth Ministries offers the following: “The sex drive is one of the most powerful natural drives that human beings possess. Once it has been expressed on a normal basis in marriage, it cannot simply be dismissed because two parties are not passionate toward each other any longer. If they have lost their passion for each other, that passion is still unleashed and it will spring up elsewhere. God gave the marriage institution to satisfy and control those passions.”

God knew that even within marriage, without sex, some of us would exhibit a lack of control. Temptations set in and we begin to look away from our spouse and towards worldly things that tend to get us in trouble with God. Many people have committed adultery because of a lack of sex in their marriage. We know there are often more complex reasons (that usually boil down to a lack of respect/love) that people cheat as well, however; a lack of self-control in a marriage with regular sex is probably (and I’m assuming here) less likely.

I’ll end here and hope that these topics will inspire you to do several things:

  • increase the amount of time you spend reading/meditating/praying on the Word of God
  • talk with your spouse, fiance, or dating partner about what you’ve read today so that you can both be on one accord within and especially prior to marriage
  • strive to make your marital bed pleasing to God
  • log off of your computer and go give your spouse some “extra special” attention. :)

Disclaimer: When you are a new blogger the use of very scandalous and often times misleading titles attract readers to your posts. As a woman who seeks to deepen her relationship with God I felt that I should be honest about two very important things: (1) it is not my place, nor my job (thanks goodness) to make judgments about how any one person chooses to live their lives, but I feel it is my job to at least try to influence Christians to make Christ-like decisions, (2) that being said, when I write about topics regarding having sex or spicing up your bedroom these posts are directed at married people, however; may be informative to people considering marriage simply because some useful scripture could be involved. I still believe that God does want us to have sex, with our spouse, and I hope that I have sufficiently supported my claim above.

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Should You Tell Your Friend if You Catch His/Her Spouse Cheating?

Last night my husband and I saw the movie, “The Dilemma”. In case you haven’t heard of it or seen it, it’s about a man who catches his best friend’s wife in public kissing, hugging and being very flirty with another man. He carries this secret with him for an entire week while he contemplates the best way to break the news to his oldest and dearest friend who also is currently under a lot of stress and dealing with a bleeding ulcer. He doesn’t want to hurt his friend but carrying this secret is (for comedic relief purposes) is putting him in situations that are hazardous to his health and life. He asks for advice from family and even strangers about how to handle the situation and finds that most people opt not to say anything at all in fear that their friend will behave in such a way as the “shoot the messenger” metaphor implies, which simply means to lash out at the blameless bearer of bad news. He further adds insult to injury by confronting his best friend’s wife and threatening to tell her husband the truth about her affair if she won’t do it. This puts him in additionally compromising situations when she threatens to turn the story around, deny everything and in fact, suggest that her husbands’ friend has been making passes at her (which would probably lead to the end of their friendship and she gets to continue her rendezvous) all along.

I won’t tell you how the movie ends but I can tell you that the subject matter in this film prompted a lot of discussion between my husband and myself both before and after the movie. Interestingly, I went into the movie with a different point of view than when I left the movie theater. When I went in I thought, if it were my friend I’d really have to handle it on a case by case basis. I knew some of my friends would be more capable of handling the news that others. I also knew some would be incapable of handling this type of news and would likely have a “shoot the messenger” reaction. Both going in and coming away from the movie my husbands’ stance was that he would never provide such information to a friend. He felt that this type of news should be found out on ones own and not delivered by a friend. Prior to the movie I was slightly angered that he could call himself a friend and withhold that type of information. I brought up the following points:

1. Your friend might want to know this information.

My husband felt that while some of his friends could handle hearing such devastating news and others couldn’t he still shouldn’t tell. Not so much because of the “shoot the messenger” possibility but because he doesn’t see how it would help the person/marriage in question to know the information. And in fact, regardless of the reaction, he feels that no on really wants to know this information. My husband reminded me that women have a strong intuition and probably know what’s going on in her marriage before the friend even decides to tell. It’s not helpful to tell because for the most part when the message is delivered the blabber mouth doesn’t just leave it at that. He or she often gases his/her friend up offering advice about what he or she should do (which is often to dissolve the marriage). Even if there is a possibility for the couple to recommit to their marriage and work it out after hearing such news, sometimes friends can get in the way of that with their advice. He reminded me that there are three entities in a marriage, Man, Wife and God. When we are not one of those entities…we should stay out of other people’s marriages even if it is our very good friend. I must say, good point hubby!

2. Your friend’s spouse is potentially putting him/her at risk for sexually transmissible diseases.

With the highest numbers of new HIV infections occurring in black females I felt its our duty to inform our friends about their cheating spouses. My husband’s rationale is that there are so many other contributors to that statistic such as intravenous drug users, rapists, the superman/superwoman complex (people choose not to protect themselves because they think it can’t happen to them) and lack of educational/preventive programs amongst people in impoverished areas. While we do recognize that people can encounter STDs by cheating and we’ve all heard the stories about “down low brothas” infecting their wives it is true that this isn’t the only way the disease is transmitted. We would hope that those who choose to be unfaithful would at least protect themselves but despite the possibility for bodily harm of a person you call friend, the hubby still ain’t telling. At that point I started joking with him about following the “no snitching” rule to which he responded, no, we just need to be concerned with our own marriages and let God deal with the marriages of others. Another good point, albeit the same point hubby!

I starting thinking about whether or not I would want to hear this news from a friend. There were so many things to consider which I think lead to the “shoot the messenger” reaction. Do you believe your friend? Do you believe your husband/wife? Do you really want to hear his/her advice after they tell you what they saw? Do you really want to dissolve your marriage? Do you really want to break up your family? Can/should you work through the issues in your marriage? How would God have you to handle this information? These are all questions one might grapple with after hearing such news. I left the movie with two thoughts. First, my hubby is right. We should stay out of other people’s marriages simply because, 2. it’s the way God intended. The word of God offers us the following:

What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Mark 10:9.

So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. Matthew 19:6.

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Hebrews 13:4

Have you ever thought about the possibility that knowing your friend’s spouse is cheating is God’s way of testing if YOU will handle the situation according to God’s word? It says let no man put asunder. Not only does this go for us as outsiders of others marriages, but the Man and Woman within the marriage are also accountable. Reading these verses makes me feel that its better to let God deal with the matters of adultery. I believe firmly that sometimes things can and will happen, not only in our marriages but in our daily lives, that are used to test our faith. There is great possibility even after hearing or finding out on your own such bad news. Maybe this is an opportunity for God to touch the heart of the adulterer. I have two great friends that are married, dealt with infidelity and God did some awesome things in their marriage. They started a marriage ministry at their church. They’re thinking of writing a book to inspire couples who choose to stay together after infidelity. Even as hard as it might be to hear the news that a spouse is cheating, we must remember that God can heal anything. He promised to take care of us if we just continue to be obedient to his word. Now, I’m not saying this is the case for every marriage, but the role WE play and our actions can certainly affect the outcome of a marriage challenged by infidelity.

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