30Sep

31 Days of Loving my Husband {Intentionally}

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31 Days of Loving My Husband Intentionally by Serving Joyfully

Get the book that was inspired by this challenge, Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband or get the Kindle Version.

Like I mentioned in my 5 Ways to Ruin a Good Marriage post, I think the biggest threat to marriages is not infidelity or any of the “big” stuff. It’s the daily neglect.

It’s getting so lost in the mundane that we forget to make time for being intentional about our marriages. Because it has to be intentional. So often, we think that we will do something if the opportunity presents itself. But sometimes it doesn’t. Or sometimes, we miss it.

When we stop trying, we start drifting apart.

We get caught up in the busyness of life.

We get selfish.

We get thoughtless.

We get prideful and entitled and start to focus on the ways our spouse isn’t doing this or that…or maybe is doing this or that annoying thing.

Slowly, one day at a time we can reach a crisis point in our marriage, just by {not} doing the small things. But it’s so easy to turn it all around. All it takes is just a little bit of thought. A little bit of active love. A little bit of being intentional.

So, that’s my challenge for this 31 days series. It’s a challenge to myself and to all of you because I hope you’ll join me. A challenge to love my husband intentionally for the next 31 days.

The Challenge

I’ve confided in you all before that I’m not so faithful in the follow through. I’m scared of promising to blog about this for 31 straight days. So, I’m going to do things a bit differently. I’m going to be utilizing my facebook page. Go ahead and follow me there if you haven’t already, so you won’t miss anything.

Everyday, I’m going to share a challenge. Some might be small or big, but I’m going to share something that I will be doing that day to love on my husband and encourage you to do the same. You don’t have to complete all of my challenges or suggestions. Maybe there is something else you’d like to do instead.

The specifics aren’t as important as the heart behind it.

The idea is simply that you do something intentional to love on your husband every single day for the next 31 days.

And then? Don’t stop. They say it takes 28 days to make something a habit. So keep it going. Keep looking for little ways to bless your spouse every single day.

And you know what? I’m guessing you’ll be blessed by that. Probably in ways you won’t even expect, because that tends to happen when we selflessly love others.

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. -1 John 3:18

Get the book!

I was so inspired by this 31 day challenge, that I expanded it and made it into a book. Check it out

Intentional Marriage Cover 3D 200 px

$4.99

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Or get it from Amazon.

 Now I need your ideas!
What are your best ideas for ways to love your husband intentionally?


 
16Aug

Thoughts on Marriage from a Road Trip (Part 2)

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 Here is the rest of the marriage lessons from a road trip that I started yesterday.

1. He’s the driver (<— click the link to read yesterday’s post, part 1)

2. No one likes a backseat driver.

As women, we think we know the best way to do things, so we think everyone else, especially our husbands, should do things our way as well.    You might remember when you first started driving, and the stress of having a stressed out mom or dad shouting frantic dirrections at you from the passenger seat.  “Slow down.”  “Speed up!” “Watch out for that car!” “Turn here…not there, turn there!” “See the red light?!”  “There’s a stop sign up here.”  Granted, sometimes those directions may have been necessary, but in my case, most were born of unnecessary worry, and the anticipation that I might mess up, rather than an actual mistake.  At any rate, it’s frustrating to have someone in your ear telling you how you should drive, or criticizing what you do. 

Yet so often, that’s what I become to my husband in life.  I want to tell him how to do things, or question why he did something a certain way, in a condescending tone.  I want to criticize him when he does things in a different way than I would have.  Basically, I’m a terrible backseat driver!

I’m still working through some particulars in this, but I know this:  God’s Word says that a contentious wife is like a constant dripping, and I know at times that’s what my criticizing, advice, etc. becomes to him.  So, I’ll say it again…No one likes a backseat driver.  And remember, your husband probably drives just fine, even when you aren’t around :)

3. There is a time and place for disagreements.

Sometimes, things need to be said.  Topics need to be discussed, worked through, and compromised.  Discussions need to take place so that decisions can be made.  However, there is a time for discussion.  In driving, the time is not when my husband is trying to merge into heavy traffic, or look for a road sign to see where we need to be.  It’s not when he’s already made a wrong turn and needs to figure out how to cross 6 lanes of traffic and get turned around.  It’s not when we’re already lost.  “Discussing” during those times makes a stressful volatile situation that much worse.

Likewise, if something needs to be addressed in our marriage and a discussion needs to happen, it should be at the right time and place.  It shouldn’t be thrown up in an argument or another already tense situation.  The discussion shouldn’t happen right in the middle of a situation with our children, or in a public place, or in front of company. 

Sometimes things really do need to be brought up and discussed in our marriage, but there is a time and place.  That place is in privacy, and the time is after prayer, and when there isn’t already a stressful, tense situation going on that will put you both on edge before the discussion even begins.


 
01Jun

Search My Heart: A Broken Wife

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How Depression affects family

Photo Credit

 

This post was written with tears, and it’s hard to share.  I promised myself (and the Lord) that I would follow His leading, and be real on my blog, even when it’s uncomfortable or embarrassing.

Have you ever seen a truly horrible picture of yourself?  Maybe it’s a yearbook picture, or that time when you had the awful perm or dye job.  Maybe it’s when you’re already overweight, and the camera adds 10 about 25 extra pounds.  It could be an awkward pose or a strange expression on your face.  But whatever the reason, you want to hide that picture away and make sure that no one ever sees it.

This weekend, I saw a really bad picture of myself, deeper than any camera could portray. 

You see, as I have struggled with depression, my family has suffered along with me because their wife and mommy wasn’t really here.  As I have fought this illness (because that’s what depression is—it’s not a sin or a choice, it’s an illness.), my husband and my precious boys have had to suffer as well.

It started out as an innocent conversation about dessert while we were headed home from an outing.  I told the boys I would make them a fruit and yogurt parfait.  Chad said he might have one too, with crushed graham crackers on top.  I told him I usually put some grape nuts on their yogurt (the grape nuts that Chad thought he remembered liking, but once we got them, he didn’t).  And, that conversation was over. 

Or so I thought.  Fast forward a few minutes as we get closer to our driveway, and the conversation goes something like this:

Chad, clearly distressed:  You’re going to be so mad at me.
Me:  What is it, honey?
Chad:  I don’t even want to tell you, because we’re having such a good day and I don’t want to ruin it.
Me:  Honey, I don’t think I’m going to be mad, just tell me.
Chad (sighing):  You are going to be mad.  But it’ll probably be better if I just tell you instead of you finding out in there.

Okay, at this point I was kind of freaking out…what in the world was my husband so scared to tell me?  Finally, I said, “Honey, just spit it out.  I won’t be mad and it won’t ruin our day.”

There was a moment of silence and then he took a deep breath, “I threw away the box of grape nuts.”  Once the words were out, he hurried into an explanation, “We weren’t eating it and it was expired anyway, so I threw it away.”

All I could do was stare at him, speechless.  That’s it.  He threw away the box of grape nuts.

What kind of wife am I that my husband was so afraid of my reaction over a box of expired grape nuts cereal?  (rhetorical question, please don’t answer!)

As God has lifted the fog that is depression, He has renewed my desire to serve Him in all things, including being a more godly wife to my husband.  To submit to him and respect him in the way that he deserves.  I know that I have a long way to go. 

 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
-Psalm 139:23-24

This has been my prayer lately.  I long to be intimate with God, closer to Him than I have been before.  Closer to the woman He is calling me to be.  But sometimes that requires Him showing me a “wicked way”, and it’s not pretty.  But even in the midst of the pain of facing the woman I had become, His hand is gently leading me. 

It is worth the pain of chastisement to be led by the Almighty God.  It is worth the disappointment in myself to rise above my shortcomings, through Him.  It is worth seeing the ugly truth in order to become the godly wife my husband deserves, and more importantly, the woman my Savior deserves for me to be. 

Jesus gave His all for me, and he deserves nothing less than all of me, given up to Him and His purpose.


 
12Apr

Proverbs 31 Wife: Serving where God puts you.

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A few weeks ago, during praise and worship at church, we sang a song and in the lyrics was something like this:  “God is asking, ‘Whom shall I send.”  Will you answer “Lord send me.”  I was worshipping the Lord and that turned into my prayer, “Lord, send me, I will go.”  In my heart, I was sincere and I meant, I will go anywhere.  I will do anything you call me to do.  Be a foreign missionary (that’s what I always wanted to do), move across the country, whatever it takes.

I heard a still, small voice whispering in my spirit, “Yes, but will you stay?”

I knew exactly what the Lord meant. When we offer ourselves up to God and His will, we expect it to be great.  And it is great.  Living out God’s purpose for my life is the greatest thing there is.  But, it’s not always great in the world’s eyes.  Not always great in our society’s eyes.

You see, I know exactly what God has called me to do.  He has called me to be a full-time wife/mother/homemaker.

I once had a working mother tell me that she works so that her sons will know what a “real” woman should look like, what a “strong” woman should look like.  Ouch.  The comment hurt, but really it’s a pretty good view of how our society as a whole views the difference between stay at home moms and working moms.  Women who are full-time mothers are seen as less than in our society, and that can cause us to second-guess ourselves:  Maybe they’re right, and my job isn’t valuable enough.  Maybe I should always be striving to do more.

So, even though in myself I’m perfectly content as a stay at home mom, sometimes I want more.  I want Him to call me to do something great, something that this world and society would recognize as having value.  In the process, I forget that raising these two boys to follow Him and work for His kingdom is great.

I love the words of C.H. Spurgeon here:

Therefore be not discontented with your calling. Whatever God has made your position, or your work, abide in that, unless you are quite sure that He calls you to something else. Let your first care be to glorify God to the utmost of your power where you are. Fill your present sphere to His praise, and if He needs you in another He will show it you. This evening lay aside vexatious ambition, and embrace peaceful content.

Psalm 127:3-5 says that children are a heritage from the Lord.  It goes on to say that they are “like arrows in the hand of a warrior.”  I love this verse, because it really reminds me of the importance of raising my children to be on the right side of the battle.

There is a war going on, and there are only two sides.  Jesus said, “He who is not with me, is against me.” (Matthew 12:30).  My children are like mighty arrows in the hands of the warrior.  But which warrior’s hands?  Will they be like arrows in the hands of good or evil?  I believe it’s my job to teach them.  And, I don’t care what this consumer-drive, on-the-go, drive-thru society has to say about it.

I’m reminded of the story of Mary and Martha.  According to our society, Martha would have been the more respected one.  She was on the go, on the move, with a “real” tangible job.  We live in a society that says we don’t need to waste time at the feet of Jesus.  We need to fill every second with some real, tangible job or activity.

But, Jesus spoke differently.  He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (my emphasis).

The point is this:  one thing is needed.  Jesus.  All we need is Jesus, and all we need to be fulfilled in this life is to follow God’s will for us.  All the other fluff that society says we need, can fall by the wayside.

Please Note:  I am NOT judging working moms.  Instead, my goal is to encourage working mothers and stay at home mothers alike–only one thing is needed–follow God’s calling.  If that’s to work, then work.  If that’s to stay at home and raise your family, then do it “heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.  Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ.”  (Colossians 3:23-24).  The point is that there is only ONE whose approval is needed.

Lord, help me not to trouble myself with the many things.  Instead, help me focus on the ONE THING that really matters—serving you.

(Also check out: the Better Mom, Raising Mighty Arrows, Delightful Homemaking, Homemaker by Choice, Homemaking, the unveiled wife )


 
27Mar

When hubby doesn’t “deserve” a Proverbs 31 wife.

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Serving Joyfully.


Over the past few months, God has given me a renewed hunger for Him and His will. A part of that for me is in serving Him through the roles He has given me, particularly that of wife and mother.

I want to serve my husband, and make our home a happy, peaceful place for him. I believe that home should be a sanctuary of sorts, and it’s my responsibility to make it that.

However, even with the best of intentions, bitterness can creep in, so today I want to address something that I’m pretty sure we’ve all thought, at least once…what about when my husband doesn’t deserve a proverbs 31 wife? What about the times when he is crabby, rude, inconsiderate? (I have a wonderful husband, but no one is perfect, and no marriage is perfect…we’re all going to have the occasional disagreement, spat, or bad day).

A couple nights ago, I had just such a night. Chad and I had a small spat, not even an argument really, but I felt like he was being inconsiderate of my feelings, and unappreciative of the things I’m trying to do to better myself and our family and home. My hackles were up.

Immediately the Holy Spirit prompted me…What about being a proverbs 31 wife? What about making his home a place of peace and striving to be a cheerful, loving wife?

Does it really count if he doesn’t deserve it? Yes!

The world seems to think that if you are loving and serving toward your husband even in those moments when he might not “deserve” it, or when you might not feel like it, you’re just being a doormat.

I don’t believe that at all. So what is it then? Selfless, sacrificial love?

Yes, and no.

Yes, it is selfless and sacrificial love to be kind and compassionate even when the other person doesn’t deserve it.  For me, I have a wonderful husband, and it’s only moments now and then when I want to lash out instead of love.  In those times, I think it’s more than just selfless, sacrificial love.  In fact, we can just forget about the other person for a minute.

I do it for me.

God has called me to act in a certain way. His commandments set me apart from my surroundings. His commandments are to “act” not “react.” He sees everything, and I believe that he has compassion on us when we are hurt. But, He is just and His commands are just. There is no “but”. There is no “unless.” I am to love and serve my husband. Period.

Bitterness cannot enter in. For my sake. A contentious heart cannot enter in. For my sake. I have to strive to live in a way pleasing to the Lord, for my sake. The only way to be happy and fulfilled in this life is to be in God’s will. Only when I am living out His purpose for my life can I fully live in His joy and peace. And that is something too big to forfeit over a petty argument with my husband.

(Check out {Titus 2}sday, Domestically Divine, On Your Heart Tuesdays, Marital Oneness Mondays, The Unveiled Wife)


 
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