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Posts Tagged ‘Relationship’

Most every family begins when a couples declares their lifetime commitment to each other and to God on their wedding day. They have no idea what their life together will be like, if they will have children or not, or how long life will last. But they can trust that “God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns” (Phil. 1:6, CEV).

 

God was there at the beginning and will be there at the end.  Nothing catches Him by surprise, and He knows how to carry us safely to the successful end.

 

Every good thing, every relationship, and every family has a beginning. And every one of these has an end too. Much of what determines the end is what happens at the beginning. It sets the stage for the rest of the relationship.

 

Commit yourself and your relationship to God, follow Him as you begin your life together, and trust Him as He carries you safely from the beginning all the way to the end.

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Although…feelings of jealousy come over the husband and he suspects that his wife is impure. Even if she is innocent and his jealousy and suspicions are groundless…” Numbers 5:13-14 (MSG)

 

Even when you are with the most trustworthy partner, there may be times when jealousy can take over your mind and relationship. Those feelings are driving you crazy and driving you apart.  How can you get yourself out of the jaws of jealousy and combat these crazy feelings so you can find your sanity again? Leslie Becker-Phelps, from WebMD,[i] provides some ideas on how to deal with jealousy.

First, recognize that jealousy for what it is.  Recognize that your fears are coming from your own insecurity and mistrust. At the same time, acknowledge that this jealousy is making you unhappy. Once you are honest with yourself about your jealous feelings, you can start addressing them.

It is a common saying that people are “green” with jealousy because this is the color of sickness.  Only you can choose to heal that sickness rather than allow it to infect your relationship. While it may not be easy, you can start to do this by admitting your struggles to your loved one. Acknowledge your pain. And concede that the problem resides inside you, not in the actions of your partner.

Green is also the color of the vile in the digestive system, and much like vile jealousy tastes bad and burns.  If you allow those feelings to continue, your relationship, even when you want it to be good, will always have a bitter edge to it.  Don’t let this horrible beast to find a dwelling place in your relationship or in your home.

If your partner is supportive, consciously accept their love for you, and move forward.  The next time you fall in the jaws of jealousy again, redirect your thoughts to your partner’s loving words and actions.  If your partner is not supportive and you’re not able to talk as a team to address this issue between you, then the problem among you is bigger than your jealousy. You would be wise to address this breakdown in communication. If you cannot do it alone, then you might want to consider couple therapy.

 

Father God, when the ugly beast of jealousy raises its ugly head, please help to deal with it in a positive, constructive way.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2015/01/how-to-deal-with-jealousy.html?ecd=wnl_sxr_012415&ctr=wnl-sxr-012415_nsl-promo_2&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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I opened for my beloved, But my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. Song of Songs 5:6 (NKJV)

 

As Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD , from WebMD[i] explains, it is normal to feel nervous before going on a first date with someone new. Every first date has the potential of leading to a permanent relationship, and therefore you want to make a good impression.  For some people, the pressure can get a little nerve wracking.  Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when you feel the first-date jitters.

Instead of trying to suppress those feelings what would work better is to redefine them as excitement.   Most people try to calm themselves when they are anxious, but this is difficult to do and rarely works.  What happens as a result is that the anxiety remains or increases which in turn tends to harm performance and self-confidence.  Reframing anxiety helps performers and public speakers, so it’s not so debilitating, and they are able to gain a new perspective on their emotionally threatening task by viewing it as an opportunity.

In the same way, when you are preparing for a date, it can feel emotionally threatening.  There’s a possibility this won’t work out and that you will be rejected.  Instead of thinking of the risks, you can choose to think about the date as an opportunity to meet a person that may end up being your future spouse or simply meeting someone interesting and learn new things, or just to gain more dating experience. The feelings may still be strong, but you are more likely to proactively create a better outcome.

To get yourself into this positive mindset, make a conscious decision to recognize a potential positive outcome and tell yourself that you are excited about it. You can also encourage yourself to get excited. If you already know something about what makes the other person more interesting, think about that. Or, think about how you find your date’s career or hobbies to be interesting. In other words, choose to focus on positives that can help you to feel more excited.

 

Father of love, dating is an opportunity to get someone else at a deeper level.  Help me to be open and willing to listen and learn.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2014/01/how-to-overcome-first-date-jitters.html?ecd=wnl_sxr_012415&ctr=wnl-sxr-012415_nsl-ld-stry_1&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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His left hand cradles my head, and his right arm encircles my waist! Song of Songs 2:6 (MSG)

 

Many couples go blindly into marriage, having ignored any red flags they might have noticed while they were dating.  Dr. James Dobson advises: “keep your eyes wide open before marriage and then half-closed thereafter.”[i]  Here are two more issues you should deal with and question you should ask before tying the knot.

  1. Digging up the past. Talk about what went right and wrong in your previous relationships. If your partner can’t come up with lessons he/she learned from mistakes he/she made or identify relationship patterns he/she’s working toward breaking, you’re likely to end up in the same situation as with his/her other exes. It is possible your loved one learned things about their exes that were troublesome and which led them to break up with them.  More often it is disagreements in which both contributed.  You want to find out about those as well so you can get a clear picture of how they will resolve, or not, issues in your relationship.
  2. Family Ties. Your relationship with your family is extremely important to the potential success of your union. You need to go into a marriage fully aware of any potential emotional, physical or psychological danger caused by disruptive family bonds. While some couple do well apart from their families, most of us will spend the rest of our lives in some relationship with the.  As someone once told me, “when you marry a girl you marry her family.”  Even if you have nothing to do with the other’s family, they are still the product of their upbringing; therefore you need to learn as much about it, and them, as possible.  Visit their family, see how your loved one relates to his/her parents and siblings; you may just learn how they will treat you too.

Marriage is serious business and sometimes unromantic. Take the time to bring up these crucial questions and have long, in-depth discussions about who you really are as people, what you truly expect from love and life, where you see yourselves down the road and how you plan to get there. It may save you a lot of heartache in the end.

 

Father God, help us to take the time to find out about each other and our past as it may determine, for good or for bad, our future together.

[i] http://drjamesdobson.org/Solid-Answers/Answers?a=8a994954-34f2-4d13-9395-3d34692dbeca

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As an apricot tree stands out in the forest, my lover stands above the young men in town. All I want is to sit in his shade, to taste and savor his delicious love. Song of Songs 2:3 (MSG)

 

You have composed a love letter to your spouse or loved one. Just a few more steps and it will be ready for them to enjoy.

Signature. An official letter requires an official signature, but a love letter may simply need your name or just your initials. It is important that your entire letter be legible, so practice your penmanship. Write slowly and carefully; this actually shows you are giving careful thought to what you are writings and to the feelings that accompany those words. When it comes to your signature, it is also important that it be legible lest you leave your loved one wondering who it is from, especially if this is the first time they receive one from you.

Delivery. You could vary the delivery method for your love letters (we hope this one will be only the first of many to come). You could mail it (even if you leave in the same house it is still exciting to receive a letter from someone). You could also have it delivered to them at their place of employment, perhaps accompanied by some lovely flowers (preferable her favorite). Or perhaps you could place the letter in his luggage so he will find it when he gets to his destination for his business trip. You could also place it under her on her pillow (if you sprinkled a few flower petals and chocolates on top will probably get you a few more points). If you will be travel for several days, plan to have one delivered every day you will be away; it will be a nice, daily reminder that you’re thinking about them, no matter where you may be.

Accepting an Answer. Biguenet ends his directions by saying, “Let your lover express gratitude without interruption. There should be nothing left for you to say, anyway, and no improvisation will match the perfectly crafted sentences of the letter.”

You can now deliver the first of many love letters to your spouse. May these love letters give and bring much happiness to both.

 

Father God, may our love be shared not just in letters but in words, actions, and prayers for one another.

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Friends, please take what I’ve written most seriously. I’ve kept this as brief as possible; I haven’t piled on a lot of extras. Hebrews 13:22 (MSG)

 

Just putting a few thoughts to paper is not enough to make it a love letter. Here are a few more details to make it a meaningful one:

Grammar. John Biguenet[i], a professor at Loyola University in New Orleans explains: Consider the case of Confederate officer William F. Testerman, for example, who penned these concluding sentences to his beloved: “Direct your letters as before and dont forget your best friend so I will end my few lines but my love to you has no End remember me as ever your love and friend. Excuse bad riting.” Perhaps Miss Jane Davis, to whom the soldier’s letter was addressed, forgave his prose. He did, after all, write from the battlefield. But you, in composing your love letter, seek to make eloquent those reasons of the heart most resistant to glib formulation. “Bad riting” won’t ease your task. Make subjects agree with verbs, and pronouns, with their antecedents. Remember that there is a difference between “your” and you’re” as well as “their,” “there,” and “they’re.”

Complimentary Close. Biguenet recommends you to be extravagant. Don’t just end with “Sincerely,” “Cordially,” “Affectionately,” “All best wishes” or “Yours truly.” On a love note to his wife Nancy, President Reagan ended with these words: “It is true sometimes that Mr. Reagan loses his temper and slams a door but that’s because he can’t cry or stamp his foot—(he isn’t really the type.) But mad or glad Mr. Reagan is head over heels in love with Mrs. Reagan and can’t even imagine a world without her— He loves her. Mr. Reagan.” On another one he wrote, “I’ll write no more because I’m going to catch up with you wherever you are and hold you for a moment. Merry Christmas Darling—I love you with all my heart. Your Husband.”

At the same time, if you’ve done your job up till the last sentence of so intimate a letter. Your assignment today is to finish this first love letter and prepare to deliver it.

 

Father of love, help me so that my words convey my deepest feelings for my spouse.

[i] http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/02/a-modern-guide-to-the-love-letter/385370/?lang=en&utm_campaign=10today&flab_cell_id=2&flab_experiment_id=19&uid=19455910&utm_content=article&utm_source=email&part=s1&utm_medium=10today.0212&position=4&china_variant=False

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Love cannot be drowned by oceans or floods; it cannot be bought, no matter what is offered. Song of Songs 8:7 (CEV)

 

Now we can begin to craft our love letter carefully and thoughtfully:

Salutation. In a letter to his wife Nancy, then Governor Ronald Reagan wrote: “My Darling Wife.” That’s a simple, yet meaningful greeting. Of course, he followed it with very tender words: “I can’t remember ever being without you and I know I was born more than 20 mins ago. Oh well — that isn’t important. The important thing is I don’t want to be without you for the next 20 years, or 40, or however many there are. I’ve gotten very used to being happy and I love you very much indeed.”[i] This takes us to the next part of the love letter:

Body. As Biguenet explains, “Pay attention to your words. Remember, it’s ‘scent,’ not ‘odor.’ Your beloved doesn’t ‘smell’ good; her ‘fragrance’ is enchanting.” It is no sin to begin with a quotation. Shakespeare is a safe bet, or Robert Browning or Elizabeth Barrett Browning.   Biguenet adds, “Ulysses S. Grant peppered his love letters to Julia Dent with blank spaces, which, he was forced to explain to the baffled lady, were an attempt to suggest feelings that words could never express. It worked for Grant, who married Miss Dent after four years of courtship. It might work for you.”

Metaphors. Biguenet advices you use metaphor, not euphemism. A euphemism is a polite way of saying something that may be not so nice. For instance, she passed away instead of she died. Metaphors make a direct comparison. For example, he had snow white teeth or her hair was coal black.[ii] Pablo Neruda’s own poetry is an invaluable trove. His book Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair is full of examples. You can compare your wife to a flower or to a delicate bird. Just make sure you learn about that flower or bird so you can use them to illustrate your feelings toward your wife.

Your assignment for today is to begin writing the first love letter, if you have not done it before), to your spouse. Take your time; hopefully it will be the first or many to come.

 

Father God, as you inspired the prophets of old, so today guide my mind and my heart to tell my spouse how much he/she means to me.

[i] http://www.lettersofnote.com/2010/04/i-cant-remember-ever-being-without-you.html

[ii] https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090308174430AA6M71T

 

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The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle; so I write. 2 Thessalonians 3:17 (NKJV)

 

What else do we need to write a nice love letter to the especial person in our life?

Ink. You can write notes to yourself or others using any color you wish. Red was such a strong reminder from our teachers of the mistakes we made and of the bad grade that we received that today’s teachers have opted for not using it anymore. Blue or green or any other color may be fine as you take notes during a class or a seminar you are attending. But for a love note, take Henry Ford’s position on the color of the Model T: You can write a love letter in any color you like, so long as it is black. Why black? Biguenet[i] says, “Because it is serious, elegant, and stains more deeply and permanently than anything else. So should your words.”

Elegance. Today’s society seems to be moving closer and closer to the casual – think of “casual Fridays” at the office or the local bank. But since you have chosen nice stationary and good black ink, so should you choose an elegant style of writing. As Biguenet explains, “What exactly is it? Elegance is a refinement of simplicity rather than a flourish of excess. Elegance prompts wit rather than comedy, sentiment rather than sentimentality. Such restraint is the lens through which all the diffuse sensations of desire are focused into the flame of passion.” A good thesaurus can help you move away from simplistic, common language, to a more elegant style without becoming extremely sophisticated and difficult to understand.

Length. When it comes to length, learn from that great writer Blaise Pascal. As he ended an unusually long letter, the French mathematician and philosopher apologizes for its length by saying, “I had not time to make it shorter.” Long-winded elegance is an oxymoron, says Biguenet. In writing, less is more.

Today’s assignment is to begin collecting a few thoughts of what you would like to write to your loved one, the things you like and appreciate about them.

 

Father God, bring to my mind all the things, big and small, that my loved one does to make my life better, and help me to express them.

[i] Ibid.

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I, Paul, write this with my own hand. Philemon 1:19 (ESV)

 

We have lost the art of writing letters by hand. With the birth of the typewriter, and later the computer, we stopped using our hands and instead put our thoughts on paper through a keyboard. In the last few years, e-mails and text messages have taken over how we communicate with other people. Call me a romantic, but all this technology has robbed our relationships of something much more meaningful and special. I love reading the hand-written notes that Ronald Reagan wrote his wife, Nancy,

Even if we lack both the intellect and taste of Ronald Reagan, it’s still possible to train ourselves to immortalize one’s passion in the form of a love letter to that especial person in your life. But to leave a permanent mark of your love upon the human heart of your beloved, you must attend carefully to every detail of the letter with which you wish to convey your affection. John Biguenet[i], a professor at Loyola University in New Orleans teaches us how to craft a love letter, from the right kind of stationery to the wrong kind of metaphor. We will consider these during the next few days.

Stationery. A small piece of paper or a post-it note might be fine for a quick few words, but for a love letter you need to visit a stationary store and select a sheet of hand-pressed, deckle-edged 100% cotton paper. Biguenet explains that such fine paper provides the perfect medium of a love letter. Your loved one can feel its texture as her fingers tremble with emotion as they unfold your letter for the first time. After that, the slight shadows cast by the raised grain will conceal her tears full of emotion as her eyes rest on every word you’ve written. And finally, such delicate yet resilient paper will withstand the decades of repeated rereading for, be assured, she will treasure your love letter for years to come and it will even be read with tenderness by your children and grandchildren.

Your assignment for today is to go find the nicest, finest stationary and get ready to take this exciting journey of writing love letters.

 

Our Father and our God, you wrote us a love letter through many prophets. May your words and actions reach to the farthest recesses of our hearts and minds and make their home there.

[i] http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/02/a-modern-guide-to-the-love-letter/385370/?lang=en&utm_campaign=10today&flab_cell_id=2&flab_experiment_id=19&uid=19455910&utm_content=article&utm_source=email&part=s1&utm_medium=10today.0212&position=4&china_variant=False

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Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” Genesis 18:12 (NKJV)

 

The controversial singer Miley Cyrus expressed at a TODAY show in 2013 that sex decrees or totally ends after age 40. “I heard when you turn 40, things start to go a little less sexual,” Cyrus told Lauer. “Probably around 40, around that time, I heard that’s when people don’t have sex anymore.”

On the contrary, as discussed on TODAY’s[i] trending segment in 2015, a study found that when couples pass their 50th wedding anniversary, they actually experienced a slight increase in their sex lives, and that couples married for 65 years reported more sex than those married for 50 years.

Researchers noted “that an individual married for 50 years will have somewhat less sex than an individual married for 65 years.” The study of 1,656 married men and women ages 57 to 87, was published in the January issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior. The data was collected from the 2005 – 2006 National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, which was a comprehensive study of sexual attitudes and behavior among older Americans.

A survey conducted by the same show in 2014 found that just over one-third of people in their 50s, both married and single, reported having sex a few times a week or month. By comparison, 43 percent of 40-somethings said they had sex once a week. Nearly 25 percent of people in their 50s reported having no sex ever, compared to 17 percent of those in their 40s, according to the online survey of more than 1,400 adults, ages 45-69. But of the sex they’re having, 45 percent say they are quite satisfied with their sex lives, thank you very much.

What this research indicates is that sex between husbands and wives does not have to come to an end when the age of childbearing arrives but can continue to provide pleasure to both spouse for many more years to come. Even Sarah, Abraham’s wife, understood that.

 

Father God, help us to continue to enjoy sexual intimacy in our marriage because it keeps us emotionally and physically close to each other even into the golden years of our life.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/take-miley-married-sex-gets-better-longer-were-married-2D80510599?cid=eml_tes_20150226

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