we are ambassadors

ambassadors-header

Marriage has kind of a bad rap these days. Though the oft-cited statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce is not true, it is true that culture today views marriage as temporary, unnecessary, and even a burden.

These perceptions are false — and there is so much more we can and should be doing to dispel them.

As Christians, we are ambassadors of Christ. Even if straight-up evangelism isn’t your thing (it’s certainly not mine), it’s still our goal to reflect Christ to others. For those of us fortunate enough to have found a husband or wife, we should have the same goal for marriage. Others, especially non-Christians, should look at our marriages and say, “Wow, they really do love each other unconditionally.” They should see what we have and want it for themselves.

That’s why it irritates me to no end when I hear people make comments against their spouses in public.

These errors are rarely made with any malicious intention. A sigh here. A comment there about something he forgot to do or a honey-do list she left for you. (Full disclosure: I’m sure I slip sometimes!) But they are thoughtless and cause three potential problems:

  • They damage perceptions of marriage.
  • They damage your spouse’s reputation.
  • They can chip away at your heart and the work you’re doing to become more like Christ.

There are tons of verses I could quote here about the power of words. But my favorite is a verse from Psalms that my pastor prays at the beginning of every sermons:

Father, I ask that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart would be pleasing in your sight…

I love this verse not only because of my pastor’s important role in my (very young) faith journey, but also because of its greater ramification: that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts are inextricably linked.

The more we think or say something, the truer it seems. And as marriage partners, it’s our job to build each other up, not to tear each other down, and certainly not to tear each other down in public. That’s why even thoughtless, unintentional comments that reflect poorly on your spouse are so critical.

Whether we like it or not, our behavior is on display for others to see and judge. Husbands and wives, let’s tear down the ball-and-chain view of marriage. Let’s be vigilant with our words and make a commitment to share the joy of marriage and change the cultural conversation.

Continue Reading

year two

year-two-header

Tomorrow my husband and I will have been married for two years. Phew.

We came into our marriage more prepared than many young couples. Because of our truly awesome couples’ Sunday school group we joined when we were engaged, we had a lot of important conversations before we got married that made the transition much easier.

Questions like: What expectations do you have for your spouse and why? What does a supportive spouse look like to you? How will we handle time with both families during the holidays? How will we budget? What’s your primary love language? How will we stay on the same page during busy times? How can we grow in faith together?

Of course, even having those important conversations ahead of time didn’t prevent all issues. Nobody is perfect and no marriage is conflict-free.

But during the days and weeks after our wedding, there were no big surprises. It was like, Well, OK. Here we are. Being married didn’t feel all that different — it just felt right.

10885505_845647428824135_2260892386625520680_n

Over the last two years, I’ve learned a lot about what love really looks like, about God, and about myself.

In marriage, there are no princess dresses or castles. There will be very few sweeping romantic gestures in your life. Love, instead, is the little things in the everyday.

It’s going for walks and talking about silly stuff and serious stuff. It’s when your husband automatically mutes the TV during commercial breaks because he knows they drive you nuts.  It’s checking in to make sure you’re doing a good job. It’s giggling until your stomach hurts. It’s when you have grand plans to be productive and do all the grown-up things but decide to snuggle on the couch and watch Stargate for the 17th time instead. It’s trying your best to love each other in the present moment, even if you’re feeling a little grumpy.

10868044_845648955490649_2615683094842351394_n

I’m certainly no expert, but with two years under my belt, here are a few habits and mindsets that keep us grounded in marriage:

  • Revisit those centering conversations often.
  • Praise each other often. Don’t just assume your spouse knows you think highly of them. They need to hear it.
  • Sacrifice your own desires often, at least when they’re not important.
  • Ask each other how you’re doing, and be honest with the answers.
  • Remember that you are on the same team.
  • Remember that anything can be fixed together.
  • Pray for each other often.
  • Take each other and your marriage seriously, but have fun!

Happy anniversary to us. Onward to the next year of love, laughter, and fun together.

1453314_845647155490829_1201210389693296188_n

Continue Reading

7 verses to pray over your husband

7-verses-header

If you’re married, your spouse is the most important person in your life, and praying for them is as critical as praying for your own needs. I love this from The Power of a Praying Wife: “Prayer is the ultimate love language. It communicates in ways we can’t.”

When I pray for my husband, we’re just automatically more in sync. I can’t overstate how comfortable and rewarding our marriage is when I specifically take time to pray for him. It’s always good, but with prayer, it’s so much more fulfilling. Because we’re wired to be in relationship with God, especially in marriage.

Even though prayer is hard — I sometimes struggle to find the right words to say or the right things to pray about — scripture provides so many verses to guide us. And it’s absolutely the least we can do for the creature God created and filled with glory for us.

Here are a few that have stuck out as I make my way through the Bible that are perfect starting points to pray for husbands.

For his love for you to stay strong and faithful:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Ephesians 5:25

For your continued partnership and walking through life together, not just next to each other:

Therefore what God has joined together let no one separate.

Mark 10:9

For his walk with God:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

For relief from stress (this is a big one in my house):

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

For perseverance in the face of temptation (of all kinds, not necessarily just sexual):

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

For his general happiness and success:

May he give you the desires of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.

Psalm 20:4-5

Finally (or, better yet, first!) for yourself to be focused on supporting and loving your husband and discerning God’s plan for him — never fixing him — and for your prayers to please your husband and the Lord.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

Pray away, ladies. 💕

Continue Reading

your two choices as a wife (or husband)

glorify-or-degrade-header

Marriage is a beautifully complex relationship. It requires supporting each other emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically; balancing priorities, schedules, and outside relationships; molding two families; and supporting both the projects you do together to the projects you take on separately.

But it’s also pretty simple. Every interaction with your spouse comes down to two choices: Our only option in all encounters is to glorify or to degrade.”

Dan Allender and Tremper Longman put it this way in their book Intimate Allies. An old coworker recommended it to me ages ago, and I wish I’d read it earlier in our marriage. It’s rare that there are literally only two choices. But I think Allender and Longman are onto something.

The authors write, To view our spouses from the lens of glory is to be overwhelmed by the privilege of being face-to-face with a creature who mirrors God.” And that privilege should shape every choice, word, and action.

When you take two flawed people with different life experiences, different expectations, different communication styles, and stick them together for life, beautiful things happen — but there’s also bound to be some discomfort and conflict. In those moments of conflict, it’s easy to forget that God specifically created and chose the other partner, too, not just you.

I don’t know about y’all, but in ordinary everyday moments, I can be pretty awful at this. I want what I want when I want it. But I’m getting better at asking myself if my (usually unnecessarily strong) opinion in a given moment is really more important than fulfilling my commitment to serve and support the awesome creature God created, called “very good,” and intentionally sent to be my husband.

It truly is a privilege to be married to the cutest, nerdiest, most honorable, most perfect-for-me guy. And I’m working on building him up and honoring the glory that God placed in him, not just bowing to my own selfish instincts, every day.

Continue Reading