Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Please join in this excellent study! Amy Bayliss is leading it on her blog, and it's wonderful. I have grown so much and learned so much from this.

This week's study came at just the right time! I just got back from lunch with a friend. Our subject of conversation? Our husbands and our love for them! Who knew God was preparing me for this particular study? God knew!

Words of Amy in green.

1. Our relationship with our spouse is parallel to our relationship with the Lord. God has many times compared His relationship to the body of Christ to the relationship between a husband and wife.

Letting our hearts conform to God's will in our love for our husbands is a must. Sometimes we have to remember that love is a verb. We must choose love and we must choose respect for them, separate from our emotions. When we operate off emotions, rather than God's commands, we are surely in for trouble!

Amy shared this verse:

"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" ~ Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)

then asked us to, "Read 1 Corinthians 13 and John 14. Be sure to highlight any that stand out to you and be sure to take notes."

From 1 Corinthiains...

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (Lord, don't let me be that to my husband. Let me speak words of life and respect to him.) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (What wonderful promises we have about love. We must choose to bear these fruits of love by not being impatient, unkind, envious, prideful, arrogant, selfish and being historians of the fights we have.)but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. (Father, you are my perfection. You are in the center of our marriage, and I pray any imperfection continues to disappear over the years. 17 years of living together in marriage has brought us to a point to where we really don't have many issues crop up, but when we do, it's comforting to know You are able to make the imperfection disappear.) When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. (As a woman of God, help me be mature in my love for Steve.) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (And a great thing it is, Lord. We have seen faith and hope in our marriage. We still have that, but love does remain!)

From John 14

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (Father, I ask for You to continue to be at the center of our marriage. Be with me and help me be the best wife I can be to my dear one. I have the faith!) "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." (I do love You, so I will be obedient, Lord. Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, to watch over us in our marriage and in our lives. Let Him shine through me to Steve and my family and into the world...)

2. Love does not need to be felt in order to exist. It is an action.

Feelings do not need to precede your actions of love toward your husband whether it be an issue of respect, prayer, sex, or lack thereof. They are things we must do and then the feelings follow. God once told me in regards to lifting my hands in worship. "You don't have to feel it to do it. You have to do it to feel it." This has proven to be so true in so many things of God. It is as simple as making a conscience decision: "Lord, I don't feel that I have respect, or reverence for my husband but I want to. Please conform my heart." Then act on it.

Totally loved this point. There are things in our marriages, sacrifices, I call them, that we as wives must do to feel. We must be willing to be obedient to God's commandments toward how we are to love our husbands. Once we are, the feelings will come. Obedience is not passive. It's very active participation in response to God's calling.

3. Prayer is a key to a long lasting, God filled marriage.

Many times we see our spouse as a source of happiness. "If he would just do this then I would be happy." This is also led by feelings but can be solved with communication to God. I want to take this subject matter and use it as an opportunity to express another point: If you have an issue with your spouse, you have no right to speak of that issue to anyone else if you have not taken it to God in prayer and then your spouse. You are your husband's helpmate. It does not help him if you do not pray on his behalf, not consult with him, or worse, gossip about him to others.

I could not agree more with this! We must lift our husbands up in prayer. As their wives, we are responsible for meeting so many of their needs. Intercessory prayer is one of those needs. We need to pray about every aspect of our husband's life. His thought-life, his friends, his words, his deeds, his walk with God, how he uses his time, his work, everything about our husbands that we see manifested we need to cover in prayer. We can be so pro-active in this. Do you feel comfortable praying with your husband? Steve and I don't often pray together, but when we do, we agree we should more often. I'm going to ask him tonight if we can start praying together before we leave for work each day. Wish me luck!

I also love what Amy mentioned about not speaking about issues inside the marriage and gossiping about it with others. We must build our husbands up and not fall into a pattern of husband bashing. We are not good wives when we do that, nor is it a God-honoring quality. How would we feel if we knew our husbands shared intimate details of our lives with other guys? "She is always nagging me to do this...she never wants to do such and such...she's puts the toilet paper on the holder the wrong way..." We would be mortified. We need to respect our husbands in the same way!

We should always be our husband's biggest fan, especially in his hearing. We need to build him up and speak positively about him to others. Not only is it a directive from God, but it's an esteem booster for our men.

I learned this lesson the hard way. A long time ago, I used my mother and sister as a sounding board for everything negative in my marriage. Our road was rocky and I said some things I shouldn't have. I nearly lost my relationship with my family because of it. It was so bad that my sister chose not to invite my husband to her wedding. I had a choice to make. How could I attend without him? And holiday events? Oh my! It took us a long time to get back to the place we were, God was faithful and I learned my lesson. My family now re-adores Steve, and I speak only the good and wholesome things about him, which there mostly are!

My husband is a great guy. He is my knight in shining armor, my best friend, my confidant, my lover, he can fix anything, build anything, and does kind things for me. My husband is the love of my life, and I want him to be well-liked by everyone. He's a great guy!

A word of warning, never join in on husband-bashing. It can creep into conversations before you know it.

Her: "My man never takes out the trash."

She: "Yeah, well mine leaves the toilet seat up *all* the time!"

I: "What is up with men? Can you believe mine won't even...."

She: "Yeah! I know! Last night my husband said...."

Her: "What a jerk, I asked mine to do the dishes and he said..."

And it is on, my friend. Instead, build him up. Walk away from conversations where other women begin to tear their men down, unless you intend to offer words of edification and steer the topic back toward the good that our husbands do, which I highly recommend.

Speak favorably about your husband and to him. Tell him what you admire about him. Text him or leave him love notes somewhere where he is sure to see them. My friend sent her husband a text the other day that said something to the effect of, "You will be the sexiest man today wherever you go." I thought that was cute! I think she texted him back later and said something like, "Look around....yep, still the sexiest..." I love it!

Be quick to say, "Thank you!" for even routine things he does around the house.

Tell your children what a great guy Daddy is. Ask them to think up one kind thing to do for him when he gets home because he's Daddy and he deserves it!

Can you tell I'm passionate about this point?

Focused Thoughts:

  1. Our relationship with our spouse is parallel to our relationship with the Lord. God has many times compared His relationship to the body of Christ to the relationship between a husband and wife.

  2. Love does not need to be felt in order to exist. It is an action.

  3. Prayer is a key to a long lasting, God filled marriage.

Scripture for Memory:

1 John 4:12 (NIV) No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Write It Down (or post it):

Be sure to record your revelation and thoughts in your bible, notebook, or let us all share in what you are learning and write a post about it and link it here! Share with us what God has revealed to you when were seeking Him.

Done! See above.

For Study Purposes:

Study the word "love" in the bible. Use a concordance. Record your findings.

The word love used 280 times in the KJV used 508 times in the NIV used 580 in the NLT

There are 40 entries in the Hebrew and Greek lexicon that match "love". Their meanings range from human love for another, includes family, and sexual, to human love for God, to be attached to, long for, desire.

The greek word philandros is the word used for loving her husband in Titus 2:4 (NIV) - "Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,"

Pray for your spouse throughtout the day. Ask God to remind you if you can't remember. I love praying for my husband, and I need to remember to pray for him constantly.

Questions to ponder: Have you ever consulted with a friend or family member about your marriage before you spoke with God about it? How did that work out and what have you learned from it? If yes then how will you do things differently in the future? See above. I learned a lot from my mistakes, and I pray you will, too.

Again, I encourage you to join in this study. It's awesome! Thank you, Amy, for hosting it and for putting so much time into it. I look forward to the next session.


Lysa TerKeurst said...

Hi Laurie Ann,
Thank you for all the time you put into this post. Amy just e-mailed me about something so it was so cool to see your review.

And thank you for the very kind comment you left me. It touched my heart.


Denise said...

Bless you my friend.

Earthmommy said...

Laurie Ann,

I can't tell you how this post ministered to me today. Things have been rocky in my marraige for a long time now and there are many issues. I amguilty of many of the things you caution against. The part that really spoke to me though was what you said about doing loving things in order to feel love. I never, have ever looked at it that way. I am quick to cry out to God, "Lord I just don't love him anymore", but I never considered acting lovingly to rebuild our love. Thank you.

Mariposa said...

I love this post...and blessings to you for taking time to do it. I have enjoyed it...and am inspired with it!

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Great Job Laurie Ann,

Loved reading all your thoughts. Like I told you, I always learn something from you!
I haven't got my post up yet but will soon.
Later gater,
Love Lea