Marry Someone You Like NOT Just Someone You Love

coupleThe crazy thing about love is it feels just right. That is until two kids later, a messy house, an overworked husband and a bad hair day. Feelings change and the subject of love is being defined in a myriad of make believe scenarios until it has become hard to really recognize it. If you follow the movie trail you simply run into someone in the rain, he covers you with his umbrella, you fall in love and magically you love each other until a major breakup. Have you ever noticed how two happily married people can become two unhappy, angry, bitter and divorced people? We could define “love” but the false images of exploding emotions and raging hormones are embedded in the minds of many youth and much easier for them to understand. But love is too passing for many, no concrete but fluid. There must be a better way to describe what real love looks like – so, here it is:

Marry someone you like NOT someone you love. Since emotions lie and feelings change, ask yourself this question, do I really like them? The sage advice of Amos still rings true, Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

HONEST? Are they transparent? Are they hiding something? Do you feel uneasy around them? Is holding secrets their big game plan? Honesty between a couple is real love and if you don’t like them holding back pertinent information then how will it be a few years into marriage?

TRUST? This is different. Would you trust him with your sister? Would you trust her with another guy? Do you trust them with money? Small areas of mistrust often grow into large areas of mistrust. Do you like the way he or she is when you are not around?

ANGRY? What ticks them off? Do they get angry easily? Have you seen levels of impatience that you don’t like? Are they calm, cool and collected or angry, anxious and agitated? Will this explosive character follow you into marriage? Give them time to change without a long term commitment and be sure and marry someone you like.

CARE? How do they treat others? Do they show concern for the hurting? Are they considerate? Is he a gentleman? Are they selfish, proud or cruel? He may look like a hunk now but how will he treat you when you are sick? She may be beautiful on the outside but is she hospitable, loving and caring?

PRAY? Are they leaning in towards God or withdrawing from God? Do you pray together? Are dates a “touchy, feely” date or an opportunity to find out more about each other’s spiritual growth and stamina? Do you know what her convictions are? Do you know what he believes?

Find out if you like the guy or girl you’re with before you fall in love.

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

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Four Things A Husband Needs to Know About His Wife

11lAfter nearly 36 years of studying my wife I can say with a hearty proclamation, “There is yet so much to learn.” My wife, along with other women in the world, is intriguingly and meticulously created with unique features defining her as woman. No wonder Adam, when wakened from a deep sleep, cried out, “WHOA! MAN!” – Thus, woman.
There is so much more to learn yet there are a few explicit details that emerge fitting the generalities of women. This isn’t a blueprint – it is merely one man’s observation of God’s female creation. Though this is written for men’s information; I know there are women reading this who will print it, post it and may actually hang it on the mirror for their husband to read, and read and re-read.

She is Unique – She Needs Your Love

Perhaps the Bible explains this the best way. She is the weaker vessel but not like you think. As far as strength – she may beat you in arm wrestling. As far as board games – she may skunk you. As far as putt-putt she may make you look bad. But the weaker vessel doesn’t mean weak in the sense of lack but a better interpretation may be fragile vase. As a fragile vase she is uniquely created, with detail. Study her and you will find a unique design, precious detail and amazing quality. She has value, she is a treasure, and she is to be honored, just as you would an heirloom, an expensive, a fragile vase. Admire her, lift her up and respect her and you will discover the hidden value of the women you call wife.
Take Home Point – Love her intentionally

She is Communicative – She Needs You to Listen
Hands down women love to talk, think out loud and communicate their feelings. Maybe men need to open up a bit but until then. When she speaks she needs her husband to listen, listen with his ears and his eyes. Really listen to her thoughts not just her words. You may not understand where she is coming from or why she is saying what she is saying but listen. Listen with your heart, be involved, don’t try to fix it – just try to be understanding. She may need a hug more than your reply.
Take Home Point – Listen intentionally

She has Insight – She Needs Your Understanding
Take the time to delve into the multifaceted mind of your wife as she looks with her eyes, thinks with her mind, feels with her heart and is sensitive to your touch. This is a women’s insight. She feels “something.” She knows people. She reads between the lines. And, she knows you; that’s the scary part. In fact, I move – she reads me. Ouch! As a husband you may not understand her insight but it is not as important as her wanting to know you are trying to understand her feelings and insights.
Take Home Point – Learn intentionally

She Has Her Moments – She Needs Your Faithfulness
She may question your love one day. She wants to know do I look good in this? – not for others but for you. She may ask you if she looks fat? – not for others but for you. She may ask do you like my hair? – not for others but for you. She wants to know you love her for who she is and you are committed till death do us part. She may be crabby, complaining, critical and even nagging but she still loves you and wants you to be totally committed to love her forever. She knows she has her moments – she knows you do to but she wants to be secure on knowing you will stand by her, hold her hand in public and be her man for the rest of your lives.
Take Home Point – Live faithfully

Comment: What do you know about your wife – how do you let her know you honor her?
 Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Investing in Our Marriage

Picture1People sometimes marry for all the wrong reasons. When a couple marries, it develops into a frenzy of emotion – sadly, for some; it only lasts for a few years before love fades, collapsing into separation and misunderstanding.

Love must be, should be, something more than physical. Regardless how the movies portray marriage – love develops over time. Two people grow in love with each other until more is invested in the marriage than one is willing to withdraw from.

 

Investing into your marriage becomes the diamond of beauty

 

Investing in the love, the husband and wife share, is called commitment. It isn’t give and take – it is give and give. Investment usually involves putting someone of value into something we trust. Marriage defined is putting something we value into the one we trust.

For many – to be able to trust the one you love with your soul, your thoughts, your life, your being, your secrets and your dreams is the peak of love. Moving from emotion to trust is a major step in marriage. After the struggle to survive often a couple will find a deeper love and a deeper trust in one another.

Making deposits into your checkbook guarantees’ you will be able to make withdraws up to the balance of your deposits. Making deposits into your marriage guarantees you will be able to make withdraws up to the balance of your deposits. Life has a way of making one withdrawal after the other – depleting the account. We must add deposits intentionally and on a regular basis.

 

The more you put into your marriage the more you are able to take out of your marriage.

 

Simply investing more into your marriage than you are taking out isn’t just good business sense but it is simply good sense. Let’s look at some common sense ways we can’t invest into our marriage:

Expressions Of Love Holding her hand as you walk together, rubbing her shoulders, or a gentle hug when she comes in from work is adding value in your marriage. It is said a wife needs seven nonsexual touches a day for emotional well being. Don’t be like one guy who patted his wife on the back seven times and felt he had accomplished his expression of love.

Spend Prime Time Together Taking a walk together, grabbing a cup of coffee, taking her lunch to her at work, watching a movie together after the kids have gone to bed, can be prime time events investing into your love relationship.

Write a Note Slipping a note into her lunch bag, having a note posted to the bathroom mirror or having a card waiting for her on the dinner table can fill the emotional love tank up to full. Write meaningful, heartfelt words that you noted her beauty, her strength, her character or her recent decisions.

Pray Together Discover each other’s needs. Pray for each other and confess your own weaknesses. Praying together over your marriage, over your home and over your children will multiply your deposits.

You might think of something that creates a better atmosphere of love in your home but whatever you do you must do regularly, continually making deposits into your marriage.

Comment: What would you add to this list of deposits?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

 

 

Rescue Your Finances Before the Holiday Crush

moneyMoney is either a blessing or a curse. Either the surplus of it or the lack of it. Nothing separates friends, spouses and relationships like money. The holiday seasons seem to drain what little money we do have. We have worked hard and we spend freely because we deserve a few nice things. The problem is – credit burns. Black debits follow Black Friday. We spend more than we want to get less than we need. You can’t find simple solutions to hard problems but there are three simple changes to help ease the “money burden” of the holiday season.

Save Some Plan to put a little money back every payday, even if it is only $5.00. Five dollars a week with buy a good tire in three months. Five dollars a week in six months will buy a good used wash machine. Five dollars a week for a year is $240.00 – now that’s a nice start for next years Christmas.

Spend Little Real hard, you say. Yes, but let’s cut it into bite size pieces.

  • Take a list and only buy what is on the list.
  • Don’t go to the store when you are hungry.
  • Make your speciality coffees at home. Google the recipes.
  • Use coupons.
  • Take only the amount of cash you can spend.

Think More Find creative ways to make money or to spend less. One woman made purses out of left over scrap material, sold them and made extra holiday cash. One lady made pumpkin rolls by taking orders from area businesses. One woman did holiday decorating for others, another sold Avon, another cleaned houses for the holidays. Yes, you can do it!

Comment: Can you think of another way to make some holiday cash?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author

A Miracle in Your Marriage

Can we expect a miracle in our marriage; when frustrations, failures and fears have a tendency to creep up in what we thought was a near perfect romance? When love spirals down and tensions spews up in tirades of anger? Can I expect the best when all I am seeing is the worse?

I think it is interesting to note the first miracle Jesus performed was at a wedding. I think it is not a coincidence but determined to prove a point.

First, to declare Jesus is as welcome in the casual atmosphere of life as He is in the stately worship of a Sunday service. We find Jesus in a stable, at the seashore with fishermen, at dinner with a tax collector, walking through a vineyard, sitting on a mountainside and visiting in people’s homes. Jesus feels at home in our home if you simply welcome Him into your home.

Secondly, Jesus was at the wedding to exhibit His miracle-working power. Jesus worked a miracle at a wedding and He is still working miracles in marriages today. If Jesus can turn water into wine at a wedding then He can turn friction into love, anger into respect and separation into togetherness. Marriage is a trinity including husband, wife and Jesus; without Jesus, your marriage is incomplete. But miracles still happen in marriages. A couple who had been separated by bitter and hateful words is making a go of it again. A couple’s heated argument was changed into trust and honor. Yes, Jesus can still work a miracle in your marriage.

Thirdly, the story reveals Jesus asked for vessels of water so He could change them to wine. God changes circumstances but mostly, changes people. Bring yourself into the arms of Jesus and experience a Divine change today.

Sound like a fairy tale? Here are some practical steps to marriage miracles:

Be thankful True gratitude can open the hardest of hearts. Instead of trying to change each other be thankful for those virtues that brought you together in the first place. Your “first love” was based on attraction – dig those up from your hidden memory and be outspoken in your gratitude for each of these. Express your thanks be writing a note, a phone call in the middle of a busy afternoon, or at dinner time.

Be prayerful Prayer is the key to every marriage. Pray for your wife/husband for extra strength and love. Pray for yourself that you would become the kind of husband/wife God would be pleased with. Prayer will soften your heart and your spouse.

Be kind Kindness can get more do through one single act than a million complaints. No greater attribute in marriage can get more done. It may take time but its results are astounding. Don’t give to get and don’t expect kindness in return, just make it your common virtue.

Be respectful Men marry for respect, honor and regard – to compliment a man is like adding a deposit to your savings account, it will build with interest. Women marry for love and to support her with a sense of security and one to one attention will build a lifelong marriage.

Be real Dishonesty breaks the strongest marriage. Real relationships are built on trust – once broken, it make takes months or years to repair. Cover ups and hidden deceit break the back bone of love. Be honest, transparent and humble and watch miracles happen in your marriage.

Comment: What is another change you can invoke into your marriage?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author

The Mix

When things fall apart, consider the possibility that God knocked it down on purpose. Not to bully you, or to punish you, but to prompt you to build something that better suits your personality and your purpose.

    Sometimes things fall apart so better things can fall together.

I read those words by an anonymous author and said to my self, “How true.”

Life is a mix. Take a spoonful of flour, put it in your mouth, yech! not what you were expecting, take baking soda by itself, (don’t try this at home). No, not good either, now a little sugar and a couple more ingredients, put it in the oven and hot biscuits – now, that’s good. (For a better recipe go online, google Good Biscuit recipes and try them). But you gt the point: the individual ingredients of life may not be good to the taste separately or even make sense but together it is very good.

Maybe you are going through something right now, you don’t understand what is coming from the right or the left but together, when added, mixed and baked is a very good outcome. Are you in the mixer right now? Confused? Downhearted?

Here are just three quick points:

Pray about it There is nothing in the world like opening your heart to God in the early part of the day and expressing your needs, giving Him your cares, and expressing your frustrations but then take the time to let the peace of God melt your heart and fill your mind.

Find something bigger than you Getting involved with the homeless, a missions endeavor, a heart burning project or a church activity can lighten the load rather quickly.

Endure This is probably the last thing you wanted to hear but realize you are stronger than you think you are – especially if you are praying everyday. These things don’t last – so, endure. Pastor Mark Lantz advises, Endurance is a difficult discipline – but he who endures to the end will be saved. Keep up and God will lift you up.

Comment: What do you do to keep yourself going?

Copyright by Jim Laudell.  Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.

A Moral Fence

“To death do us part” needs a security fence. Men and woman who fail in their marriage usually disregard the moral fence chosen to be placed around the marriage. For marriage to be good there must be a moral fence of protection keeping the husband and wife within the blessed boundary of the marriage covenant. This is not as much confinement as it is protection. Our joy is protected. Our security is protected. Our health is protected. Our finances are protected. Our future is protected.

Do you know what a moral failure looks like? While eating dinner with a “fallen brother” he confessed, “I can’t sing, I can’t pray, I have a hard time looking my wife in the eyes, and you always wonder what it would have been if it had never happened.” Even if you get your marriage back it takes long time to build trust and the memory doesn’t fade away quickly.

Moral fences, after my wife and I have celebrated 35 years of marriage, include:

Social media checkups My wife checks my Facebook, Blog, texts on my phone, and emails. Some may think this is overkill or too much control but I see it as protection; a fence to keep me from wandering off base.

Communication We sit down frequently and talk about what is on our mind, whether with a cup of coffee in the morning or an evening dinner but we communicate about our day and its activities.

The Holy Spirit Of all the accountability given to man there is none like the power of the Holy Spirit to keep you on a check and balances system. This inward prodding of the Holy Spirit is invaluable for those who choose to keep morally correct.

Accountability Finding a men’s group or a pastor to talk to has been a vital part of the “moral fence.” Having men who understand the frustrations and turn ons can help move you past the temptation and on to victory.

Common Sense Keeping your distance and not being left alone with the opposite sex is just common sense. Not complimenting someone’s physical appearance and inappropriate touching is a fast train out-of-town.

Staying close Date your wife and tell her you love her every day. Kiss her when she leaves the house. Compliment her in public and let others know of your affection for her.

Pray Together What a great way to shore up the line of protection by praying one for the other. Love and marriage is worth protecting and prayer includes the creator of marriage into the picture. Through prayer Jesus will build a fence around your marriage.

Comment: I am sure there are other ways to protect your marriage – what do you suggest?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.

Conquering Frustrations

I just took a break from writing the blog for about a week for two good reasons; I wanted to regroup and refocus on the how and why plus, the greater reason, my wife and I took off and celebrated our 35 wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful and much-needed time of relaxation. Thanks for waiting around for the next blog.

Two weeks ago a police officer mentioned to me that with the heat wave there was also a wave of domestic dispute cases. This increase of arguments, fights and disagreements led to a 911 call and the police officer had the gruelling task of separating (oftentimes) family members apart. A young mother confessed yesterday of her frustrations in recent weeks and an employee of a large firm told about the intense calls her office was receiving concerning their dwindling income.

Frustrations come from three defined levels:

A misunderstanding of the facts surrounding the situation. Not having enough information and merely gathering of superstitious feelings and assumptions can lead to inner frustrations that burst into exterior actions. Gather all the facts by finding a person concerned with your issue. Don’t be caught up in the “feel good” huddle of “back patters” who simply feel sympathetic. An emotional uplift and support from your friends is necessary but you need someone who is able to understand your frustrations and assist you in gathering the facts. Find a pastor, counselor or financial consultant.

Cluttered surroundings. Being disorganized and disheveled can lead to a lack of security pushing you into frustrations. Have a garage sale, give some stuff away to Goodwill, or pack your clutter in boxes and put it in a shed or the garage but move it from your sight. You will be surprised the reduction of clutter will bring to the reduction of stress.

Uncontrollable circumstances. This level seems to be the most stressful and frustrating of all. Having situations come up in your life you can do nothing about, they whirl around you in the form of car trouble, family problems, financial woes, health concerns and more. We all face them. This frustration spirals out of control because of the pressure around us. Find a quiet place, note all the things you are thankful for, let the tears flow and cry out of God for His intervention. One mother went to the basement in her home and cried out to God for her daughter only to watch amazed as her daughter came home the next day asking forgiveness as she hugged her mother. Miracles still happen and God still answers prayer.

Intrinsic lifestyle. Withdrawn is painful. Living alone in the sea of people can be frustrating. Reach out to a church, a support group or an old friend and find the joy of living, laughing and loving. A diet from people can be damaging to your health. Reach out and be involved. Frustrations fade in a group of friends. “Joy cometh in the morning.”

 

Comment Below: How do you handle your frustrations?

Copyright by Jim Laudell.  Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.

Four Things I Pray for my Children

When it comes to praying for my children and grandchildren I have expressed no greater passion. It comes natural for a grandparent to pray for their grandchildren and a parent to pray for their children but I have felt that I needed to be more defined in my requests. More than “Bless them, Lord.” I needed to pray a definite and detailed request for God to actually move into their home and personal life and be the third person of their marriage and the unseen guest at every meal.  I wanted to pray, believe and record the results but “Bless them, Lord” didn’t cover all the bases.

Here are the four things I pray for my children and grandchildren.

Protection They must be kept from the invisible influences of evil that can pull at their tender hearts and minds – they must be protected. Swaying compromises and unbalanced convictions can turn their life in another direction – they must be protected. Crime, accidents, disease and trouble must be kept away – they must be protected. Wrong friends, temptations and a fading spiritual life can ruin them – they must be protected. I pray for their protection.

Preservation Life has a way of dragging you down, dragging you around and dragging you away – I pray for their preservation. Stability, closeness, and family ties are important – I pray for their preservation. Marriage, love and togetherness are valuable – I pray for their preservation. Faithfulness, committment and bonding are needed – I pray for their preservation.

Provision I don’t pray for riches but I do pray for their needs to be met. I don’t pray for wealth but I do pray they will live debt free.I don’t pray they will build bigger barns but I do pray they will be abundantly blessed. Every need to be supplied, every care to be placed in the hands of God, and every day to be filled with thanksgiving for His faithfulness.

Presence When praying for my children and grandchildren I pray most passionately about the manifest presence of God in their home and daily life. I firmly believe when God is present not much else can survive. I pray for the living room, bedrooms and kitchen is filled with the presence of God. Their heart, mind and soul is filled with the presence of God. Their home, church and school is filled with he presence of God. I pray for the presence of God to be living, active and working in their daily life.

Prayer is essential and not a routine , especially when it comes to praying for our children and grandchildren, let us pray.

Comment Below:What do you pray for your children?

Copyright by Jim Laudell.  Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.

Action or Reaction

My wife always says, “You are not responsible for other people’s action but you are responsible for your reactions.” There have been times when the “spirit of slap” comes upon you and you cautiously and, might I add, wisely refrained. In your mind you are questioning, “What were they thinking?”

But what drives these moments of uprising within us. Could we have misunderstood their motive, misapplied their reasoning or miscomprehended their actions? No, I saw it with my own eyes but assumption is not always truth. The man driving recklessly through traffic may have been rushing his sick baby to the hospital. The man you saw with a woman who wasn’t his wife may have been with his sister you have never met. A crying girl may not have been sad but was overwhelmed with the news that her boyfriend soldier was coming home. The angry woman may have just found out her son had been placed in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.

What we harshly judge others with – we ask for compassion in our own instances.

Here are a few “improved” reactionary steps:

Turn the other cheek I know – this is really tough; especially when you feel you have been wronged so many times. Learn to take the hit without twitching. Remember what Jesus said, “They do not know what they are doing.”

Grin and bear it This is similar to “turn the other cheek” but different. In this instance, you are merely smiling – showing your best side. Not fighting sword with sword but fighting with a smile. This will do more than a reactionary “bring it on, man!”

Turn it in If the insult, slander, libel or threat was severe enough you may need to turn in it to the proper authorities. If this is what is going on in public then what is being done in private. Go to the proper authorities and let them deal with it.

Let it go Nothing will eat your lunch like mulling over an angry person who told you off. Brush it off, let it go, and enjoy the freedom of not hanging on to it for the rest of the day. Someone has said that bitterness is the poison you drink meant for the enemy. Revenge will not make you happy. Let it go!

Pray about it Absolutely nothing will dissolve anger and bitterness greater than the avenue of prayer. Seek God’s advice. Ask Him for counsel. Forgive the other person. Pray God will bring the offender to a place of repentance and change. God is able to do great things through prayer.

Comment Below: Have you “turned the other cheek” recently??

Copyright by Jim Laudell. This blog post should not be considered as counseling or mental advice. Please, seek the help of a professional. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author.